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Inspire Awards 2015: Good news on the high street

Clare Herriot manages a church charity shop, runs the local business group and regularly prayer walks round the shops – all to bring the love of Jesus to Chislehurst ...

Clare Herriot manages a church charity shop, runs the local business group and regularly prayer walks round the shops – all to bring the love of Jesus to Chislehurst, Kent. SHARON BARNARD reports

The Churches Together charity shop 2gether was originally set up to raise funds for Chislehurst Youth for Christ but, says manager Clare, it has grown into something much bigger.

“It’s an oasis as well as a place to buy and sell donated goods. It’s church on the high street.

“We have a coffee area with a prayer box as well. We pray every Monday morning and we take pride in what we do and how we present the goods.

“God wants this place to be a blessing.”

It was when the former nursery nurse and mum of two joined the local traders’ group that she really caught a vision for the area. She visited each of the 120 shops on the High Street to ask them to join the group.

“We now have 92 businesses signed up, each paying £120 annually.”

When a Town Team was set up in 2012, Clare began working with the chair to change the name of the traders’ group to the Chislehurst Business Group and to build a brand. Clare is now its CEO.
They obtained funding to set up a community website which now receives up to 7,000 visits per month and the group is on Facebook and Twitter.

Clare also prayer walks the High Street once a week.

Clare has seen relationships between volunteers blossom, business meetings flourish and loves to stop and chat with members of the community.

“God is not just about church. He is interested in all aspects of our lives.

“I have a picture of a bunch of twigs entwined and there is one bright red twig running through it. That is Jesus, right in the nitty-gritty of our lives here in Chislehurst.”

  • Clare Herriot was nominated for an Inspire Individual Award by Lyndsay Smith from Chislehurst Youth for Christ

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