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Lions Club Charity Book Shop *updated*

Darlington Lions Club Charity Bookshop was first established over 40 years ago as a fundraising project using vacant commercial properties in the town centre to sell donated fiction and non-fiction books with over 6,000 books in stock. Every penny raised in the bookshop is spent to meet every day charitable needs, mostly on a local basis, and manned by volunteers six days a week.

The shop is a great resource for local people and helps to make sure that books are re-used and re-read rather than ending up in the bin, saving precious resources and energy. Their spectacle recycling project helps to make sure that used glasses are sent to those who need them instead of being put in the bin or left in a drawer.

Over the years the nomadic life of the book shop has seen it operate from at least ten locations, settling on its current home in Blackwellgate Mews almost 30 years ago, where it quickly grew from one to two shops.    

To boost sales, over ten years ago the previous £1 selling price was reduced to 50p, where it has stayed for some time, which may mean it is the longest sale ever to run in Darlington town centre!  Although costs are carefully controlled and consist mainly of utilities and rent, they have significantly increased to the point where our Lions Group have had little choice but to bring the sale to an end restoring prices to £1 a book (3 for £2), with children’s books remaining at 50p.

Joint chair of the bookshop committee Kevin Winkworth said “Over the course of the years we have become great friends with many of our customers who regularly call in to view the ever changing stock and have a chat. 

“Recently we moved the main shop to a new position facing out onto Blackwellgate where we can display our stock more clearly and give improved levels of customer service.

 “One of our aims is helping children develop a love of reading and so during the summer holidays we were able to give a free children’s book to any young families that came into the shop”.

Fellow Joint Chair Lion Fred Thompson added “The new shop gives us the added opportunity to promote some of the other features of the charitable work of Lions Clubs, including the collection and disposal of used spectacles to developing countries and the unique Lions Message in a Bottle service, which warns medics of patient issues when they may be unable to do so themselves.”

A recent addition to the great work of the shop is collecting used hearing aids, which can help someone who wouldn't otherwise be able to access them. The shop is also now collecting old foreign coins. So if you have any tucked away from your holidays, the Lions can put them to good use to fund their charity projects.

Our thanks also to President Robert Hillary for providing new signage above the bookshop.   

We are open every day between 10am-4pm, closed on Sundays.  Please pop in next time you are in Darlington, we would love to see you.

Collage of photos of Lions Club Charity Book Shop

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