Wellingborough charity boutique is next step for Niamh's Next Step

Niamh Curry lost her battle with Neuroblastoma in May 2012

Friday, 30th April 2021, 7:00 am

Founders of a Wellingborough-based charity that has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity are preparing to launch a new money-making venture.

Chris and Sam Curry set up Niamh's Next Step after their youngest daughter Niamh was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2010.

Since her death in 2012, the couple have fundraised tirelessly to fund research into finding a cure for the disease that took Niamh's life at the age of five.

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Niamh's Boutique is set to open in June
Niamh's Boutique is set to open in June

With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down their charity events, the Niamh's Next Step team is diversifying to open a boutique in Silver Street selling high quality new and nearly new items in Niamh's Boutique.

Chris said: "It's the next step for Niamh's Next Step. We will be selling new and pre-loved clothes, bric-a-brac and toys - all good quality goods.

"During lockdown we haven't been able to do anything. We rely on events. So we thought we would future proof against anything like the pandemic again.

"The pandemic hurt us. We realise that we might not be able to put on events with 300 to 400 people. We might only be able to have 100.

l-r Chris Curry with Colin Dowell (area service manager), Robert Stedman and Darren Gidney (technical service engineers)

"We've lost about £150,000 to £250,000 from two gala balls, two golf days and all our other events over the past 18 months. As trustees we had to make a decision what to do."

Using as many volunteers as possible the two-storey Silver Street store will be converted into the charity's offices upstairs - to replace the current Bradfield Road base - with the shop floor on the ground floor.

Chris said: "We've had a really good response. Teachers from Niamh's school have offered to come in to help when we're up and running. We've got carpenters giving their time for nothing. It's a real community project."

The charity has promised that all the goods will be 'steamed, cleaned and looking gorgeous before it even gets onto the shop floor'.

The shop and offices in Silver Street, Wellingborough

To help them will their goal, Northamptonshire Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd employees delivered a new fridge and washing machine to the shop.

The service engineers chose to help the charity after they were looking to support a county-based cause and they will focus their efforts on helping Niamh's Next Step.

Colin Dowell, area service manager for Whirlpool UK Applicances Ltd, said: "It's fantastic to be able to help. We have plans for our engineers to get involved in a big fundraising event. We're toying with various ideas - maybe a relay."

Chris said: "I would like to thank Whirlpool for their donation. We will use the washing machine for the donated clothes and the fridge for the volunteers and team. We are looking forward to working with them on fundraising in the future."

The boutique is set to open mid-June but the charity is already stockpiling designer wear and top quality high street brands to sell alongside exclusive signed memorabilia donated by the charity's patrons and other celebrities.

Saints player and charity patron James Grayson has already made a visit to the centrally located store make to one of the first deliveries of donations.

2021 marks the ten-year anniversary when the family started to raise money to send Niamh for specialist treatment in the USA for Neuroblastoma.

She lost her fight with cancer in May 2012 after an 18-month battle. ​

Since registering as a charity they have funded vital childhood cancer research projects in the UK working alongside some of the leading research organisations including Neuroblastoma UK, Sparks, GOSH, Brunel University, London and Newcastle University Cancer Research Unit.