Capital hosts world’s first charity shopping mall

Bri McCreary and Ewan Hastings sort out some of the goods. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Bri McCreary and Ewan Hastings sort out some of the goods. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

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SHOPPING malls are now ubiquitous – cathedrals to consumerism that seemingly get bigger and brasher with each incarnation.

So spare a thought then for this new Edinburgh mini mall – believed to be the world’s first collection of CHARITY shops.

It has just opened at the Eric Liddell Centre in Morningside and is about as far removed as you can get from out of town centres like McArthur Glen, in Livingston, and the Gyle.

With only three shops to its name and a place to get a cuppa, there’s no doubt it offers a niche shopping experience, but one which bosses of the popular centre hope will help them remain relevant while raising much needed charity cash. “We believe we’ve created the world’s first charity shopping mall,” said the centre’s Ewan Hastings.

The three shops are Tots Togs, which stocks donated clothing for babies and children up to six years old, bookshop The Bookworm and Eric’s Emporium. The Emporium, named in honour of the Olympic Gold Medallist portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire, that the centre is also named after, sells quality household and small electrical items.

Mr Hastings added: “The shops are situated in three areas which were originally supposed to be used as conference or meeting rooms.

“However, the fact that they don’t actually have ceilings and can be seen into from the gangways seemed to make people feel a bit awkward, so we decided to put them to better use.”

Bri McCreary, 23, from Oregon in the US, who is currently working at the centre and aiding carers as part of a three-month intern program, said the mall is a bit smaller to the ones he’s used to back home. However he thinks it’s a great idea and one he intends to take home with him.

While Mr Hastings continued: “Eric Liddell was a man who didn’t just accept what was put in front of him, and always worked hard to be better, and we feel that that spirit it something that lives on in the work we do here.

“His daughters have all visited the centre and they really love it, so hopefully they’ll get to see our new shops at some point in the near future too.”

One local, Deidre Ainslie, 66, a retired shop worker, said she thought the idea of a mini mall was a great idea.

She said: “Why not. I love charity shops and having a good root around for a bargain, so the idea I could nip in and out of a couple of places next door to each other is a great idea. Triple the fun, and triple the chance of finding a bargain.”

Student Mercedes Ramasuri, 22, was also eyeing up The Bookworm. “I can’t think of anything better than a good used bookshop,” she sighed. Sales from the trio of shops will go towards carers and people with dementia.

Today the centre will also be hosting a Spring Fling event, specifically aimed at older people looking for a new hobby or interest. Staff are also always happy to accept donations for the charity shopping mall.