Essex volunteer group devastated after break-in

The founder of a volunteer-run charity shop in Harold Wood, the proceeds of which go to Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, has spoken of her upset after jewellery and money were taken just two days after a celebratory afternoon tea thanking volunteers for raising over £900,000 for the charity.

Pauline Obee MBE discovered the break-in when she went to open the Station Road shop on Saturday morning.

“They caused havoc,” Pauline said. “What’s the mentality of people getting into a charity shop? There are 33 volunteers working there who give up their time free to raise money for Rainbow Trust. It’s quite depressing really.”

Pauline and other volunteers have set up a pop-up–shop outside until it re-opens and have so far raised more than £300 in donations and by selling the shop’s merchandise, which includes clothes and bric-a-brac.

“People have been really generous, it proves to us that not everyone is bad and people want us to be there. People are really sad for us and have shown us sympathy.”

Pauline founded the Harold Wood Volunteer Group 24 years ago and the group runs the Harold Wood shop. They also take part in fundraising efforts across Essex in aid of Rainbow Trust.

Pauline said police thought the incident probably happened late Friday night or the early hours of Saturday morning.

Rainbow Trust Volunteer Development Manager Andrea Kelley said:

“We all very extremely sad that this has happened. These volunteers have supported Rainbow Trust for more than 24 years, raising over £900,000. It is testament to their resilience that they started a temporary shop outside, made the best out of a bad situation and just got on with it. The volunteers are not going to let this deter them from raising money for a vital cause. We had such a wonderful time at the volunteering event and it was lovely to be able to thank and honour so many of our volunteers. It is just such a shame that it was tainted by this thoughtless act.”

If you would like to help our pop-up-shop you can donate here: Donate