The cost-of-living crisis has had unexpected benefits for an Alton charity shop helping people with disabilities.

As people’s finances have been squeezed by inflation and low pay rises, many have been turning to the Scope charity shop to refit their wardrobes.

Patricia Bell, manager of the High Street shop, said: “Over the past 12 months or so our shop has seen a lot of new faces coming in for the first time, and I’m very happy to say they all came back and are now our firm regulars.

“Customers are definitely having to be cleverer with their budgets and tell me they love being able to buy three to four items, or a whole outfit for £20, at Scope, when they’d be able to buy only one item at a traditional retailer.”

Teenagers and students with a flair for upcycling and a love of retro are among those who like the Scope shop.

Patricia added: “They can always find something they can work their magic on. I’m always stunned when they show me what they’ve made from, for example, a simple, plain jacket from our shop. They also love our vintage ranges from past high street retailers, such as C&A, and we ensure they are affordable for most budgets.”

The shop gets a steady supply of young volunteer staff from local schools and colleges whose pupils and students are using the hours worked there to help them earn The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

It also plays a social role for older customers who may just want a chat with those behind the counter. And appropriately for a store helping those with disabilities, students from Treloar’s in Holybourne are also Scope customers.

Patricia said: “If you’re planning a spring clean, we’d love you to donate your clothing or homeware to us.

“We’ll make sure your donations find a new home while raising vital funds for Scope, so we can continue to support disabled people and their families.”