This shop is offering everything for free to ease the cost of living crisis

A woman has opened a free shop on the High Street to help absolutely anyone who needs it during the cost of living crisis.

Maya Amangeldiyeva is urging residents to use Maya’s Free Shop to stock up on whatever they are short on.

The store is based in a former salon in the seaside town of Herne Bay, Kent, but Ms Amangeldiyeva said she ‘doesn’t care where customers come from’.

It offers clothes, candles, children’s toys, blankets, books, sleeping bags and much more.

Ms Amangeldiyeva originally created the store when she collected a mass of donations to help families fleeing Ukraine.

But people kept bringing her their unwanted items and now the shop has plenty to offer.

She said: ‘I don’t ask any questions and we don’t care about your income – anybody can use our free shop.

‘We receive donations all the time. We have had over 100 bags today. Honestly we have enough clothes to dress all of Kent.

‘I don’t care – if you need help, I will help you. There are no other shops like this.’

This project runs alongside Ms Amangeldiyeva’s community café, which has served people who do not earn a lot of money and the homeless for free, since 2015.

The café was home to the first version of Maya’s Free Shop, when Ms Amangeldiyeva put out a single clothing rail for customers to look through.

She said: ‘People started bringing so much stuff that we had to open the shop. We don’t want anyone to be ashamed of dressing up from a charity shop.

‘All money that is donated to the shop goes towards our food bank.’

Around 150 volunteers help with the shop and café – both are entirely run from donations and cash from companies in the community.

The UK is in a terrible financial state and is set to just narrowly avoid recession this year, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr).

Have you used Maya’s Free Shop?

Get in touch and tell us how it’s helped you: [email protected]

The think tank’s findings are a more optimistic outlook than offered by the Bank of England last week, which predicted a shallower but still protracted recession throughout the year.

But that is largely where the optimism ends, with Niesr warning it will ‘certainly feel like a recession’ for many, with people’s disposable income set to take a big hit.

It projects one in four UK households – some seven million families – won’t meet their planned energy and food bills in full from their post-tax income, up from one in five last year.

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