The winners of a competition to breathe new life into Suffolk charity shops have been revealed.

Aliona Cervinskaja and Joe Seaman (pictured) won the week-long challenge, which saw teams of level three business and retail students from West Suffolk College take over six local charity shops, using their business, visual merchandising and social media skills to encourage more people to visit.

The pair took over the St Nicholas Hospice Care Shop on St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds, raising the most money in the store compared to their peers, who took over branches of EACH, Suffolk Age UK, Barnardo’s, Cancer Research UK and the Salvation Army.

“We gave them the tools and the space to express their retail ideas and creativity, and they developed an attractive and eye catching Easter shop window display,” said Bill Hill, shop manager at the St Nicholas Hospice Care Shop.

“Both were engaged with the day-to-day structure of life in a boutique charity shop, and were keen to acquire knowledge of the essential art of visual merchandising.” “Feedback from charity staff has been extremely positive, so we hope to build on links with these great charities in future projects,” added Nina Hart, business and retail course director.

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