A new homeware store is coming to Coventry – but it is going to be a shop with a difference.
It will sell upcycled homeware items and home accessories at affordable prices, and will be a haven for any bargain hunter or thrifter.
But there is also a touching reason for the shop being set up in the Willenhall neighbourhood of Coventry.
It is called The Betty Ennis Hub, after community activist Betty Ennis and will be run by the charitable foundation set up in her memory.
Known locally as the ‘Queen of Willenhall’, Betty was a driving force for a lot of community change in Willenhall, and after she passed away in August 2019, her family and the community set up the Betty Ennis Foundation.
Described as “funded by the community, for the community on behalf of the community”, the foundation runs a food bank and network with the local church and social club that has hugely improved the lives of local residents.
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And now, The Betty Ennis Hub is a further expansion of their services and will house their homeware store in Willenhall’s shopping precinct.
It has taken over the old premises of Acorns charity shop that was in the shopping precinct on Remembrance Road.
Speaking to CoventryLive, co-founder of the Betty Ennis Foundation, Paul Cowley, said: “It’s our community and we want our precinct back, there’s people with no money there, the charity is about putting money back into the community.
“There’s lots we want to do.”
He added: “We’re going to refurbish it – people’s homes are full with donations. The Acorn charity shop have been phenomenal to us and gave us a lot of their stock.
“It will support the projects that are run by the Hub. It’s going to work very well.”
Mr Cowley said the shop will be similar to the British Heart Foundation shops and everything will be priced affordably.
We’ve all heard about shopping with a conscience, but The Betty Ennis Hub will be a sustainable model, run with the help of local volunteers and trustees, and will help fund the foundation’s charitable operations.
Willenhall is a thriving community, where residents have a strong sense of looking out for one another.
Their community organisations all work in partnership with each other, and are a well-oiled machine.
Willenhall community stories:
There is: St John the Divine Church which runs various outreach programmes and their famous outdoor nativity; Willenhall Social Club; The Hagard Community Centre; the Betty Ennis Foundation; and the local Facebook page, the Pride of Willenhall, which has created an online community of its own.
They all work together to improve the lives of people in the ward and beyond, and this new homeware shop will be an exciting and important addition to the area.
Mr Cowley said: “We all work really well together. People run Willenhall down and they shouldn’t, it’s vibrant.
“We’re a close-knit community in Binley and Willenhall.”
Mr Cowley said they are putting the final touches on the shop and are waiting to finalise the details before they announce an opening date, but it will be imminent, and you can keep up to date on the Betty Ennis Foundation’s Facebook page.
They are also advertising for volunteers, to help decorate and with gardening.
If you’d like to offer your services you can do so by contacting the Betty Ennis Foundation Facebook page: @thebettyennisfoundation