Viva la revolución: Charity to open new shop

A Soham charity is opening a new shop - across the road from its original home - as it continues to fight back following the Covid-19 lockdown.

Viva Arts and Community Group will open their new shop on Thursday December 3 following the refurbishment of 14 Churchgate Street, which was formerly Trade It and Special Thoughts,

Viva shop manager Peter Lawrence and his team of volunteers will host a grand re-opening to welcome back customers old and new from 9am.

Viva opened its first shop in 2006 while the start of national lockdown saw the final days trading at the Viva Centre, 7 Churchgate Street in Soham.

Rachael Polsom, of Viva, said: “It is now a bright, modern, Covid-compliant community-led shop stocked with plenty of bargains and Christmas fare.

“The new shop even boasts a courtyard where the charity plan to serve tea, coffee and cakes from spring 2021 and offer a place for people to meet and socialise.

“The Viva Shop sells toys and games, women’s wear, accessories, homewares, men’s wear, kid’s clothes, books, bric-a-brac and gifts all at affordable prices.

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“There is also a ‘Fancy Frock’ rail for big label enthusiasts and fashionistas.”

She added that Viva “exists to provide cultural, community and heritage projects to people throughout East Cambridgeshire regardless of their age, situation, abilities or circumstances.

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“Viva’s projects and activities are designed to improve people’s quality of life, help increase creativity; build confidence; widen perspectives; combat social exclusion and loneliness; encourage a sense of community; encourage volunteering and inspire and motivate people to learn and take a more full and active role in society.

Viva’s shop trustee, Peter Leonard, said: “2020 has been a difficult year for so many of us, but one thing we have all learnt is the importance of community.

“Our aim in creating the new Viva shop is to provide a social hub for the people of Soham - somewhere they can meet, chat over a cup of tea, and of course enjoy a bit of retail therapy.”