A unique retail concept is gaining momentum in a small town in Cumbria, where goods are exchanged not for cash, but for time. The Kinder Shop, a pop-up boutique, offers a variety of donated homewares from local businesses, with each item priced in terms of volunteer hours at nearby charities.
The suggested number of hours is displayed on the price tag, allowing customers to contribute their time instead of money. The initiative was made possible by the Kinder Cumbria campaign, supported by the Cumberland Building Society, which aims to promote kindness and understanding within the community. The response has been overwhelming, with 1,143 hours pledged to local charities in just one day. This simple yet impactful idea has garnered attention beyond the small town of Carlisle.
The Kinder Shop has provided a platform for charities and community groups in the county, which rely on volunteers for their operations. Organizations such as Eden Valley Hospice,
Anti-Racist Cumbria, Lancaster Homeless Action Service, and the Cumbria Deaf Association
have participated and welcomed new volunteers. The initiative has been described as the
most innovative volunteering idea in years by Kate Apperley, volunteer coordinator at Tullie
House Museum and Art Gallery.
The Kinder Shop has broken down barriers to volunteering and encouraged people to make a tangible difference in their community. It has connected individuals with various
opportunities, offering roles for everyone. The success of the shop has not only fulfilled
pledge hours but also inspired long-term volunteers. The idea has even spread to
neighboring areas, with a hair salon in Keswick hosting a pay-with-kindness day.
The Cumberland Building Society believes in expanding this idea of kindness throughout the
UK. Other towns have already shown interest, and pop-up shops have opened in Kendal and
Dumfries, raising valuable volunteer hours for local charities.
The initiative’s scalability and
ease of implementation have attracted attention, and more locations are planned for the
future. So, in the near future, you might be able to leave your wallet at home and contribute
your time instead when exploring your local high street.