First pop-up shop in the Chantry Centre opens

A prom dress rental service with a twist has taken advantage of Test Valley Borough Council’s new pop-up shop scheme in Andover’s Chantry Centre.

Andover mum of two, Kate Lambert, started the Andover Prom Dress Free Rental concept in May this year after learning how some school girls avoid or can’t attend their school prom because their families cannot afford to pay for a dress.

Kate realised that there was an opportunity to provide support for these teenagers and relieve some financial pressure from their families. She started a Facebook page asking women to donate their old or unwanted dresses. After receiving more than 140 dresses, Kate has opened a pop up in the Chantry Centre next door to Animal.

Partnering with many Andover secondary schools, Kate has been able to help five schoolgirls attend their prom this year. She said:

The generosity that I have witnessed really is amazing. Some dresses I receive still have the labels on! I’m so pleased to have been able to help so many young girls this year, and I’m excited to help even more in 2020 for the next prom!

Previously, I stored the dresses in my conservatory which took over my home after the concept really kicked off and I had to travel to various locations with all of the dressesNow that I have the space in the Chantry Centre, I have somewhere to store the dresses and can take on even more, and being in a central location means girls can come to visit and choose their favourite dress.

 Leader of the council, councillor Phil North, said:

It’s great to see that the Chantry Centre has opened its first pop-up shop so soon after launching the easy in, easy out agreement. Kate has shown great initiative by launching this initiative and I’m thrilled that the council and the Chantry Centre have been able to help facilitate this for the people of Andover.

To arrange a dress donation, please contact Kate on her Facebook page, Andover Prom Dress Free Rental.

Anyone interested in a Chantry Centre pop-up shop can contact Colin Hares, valuer at Test Valley Borough Council, on 01264 368000 or email chares@testvalley.gov.uk


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