surinenglish

Digging deep in Duquesa

Volunteers at the Duquesa Charitable Society of St George outside the charity shop.
Volunteers at the Duquesa Charitable Society of St George outside the charity shop. / ASH BOLTON
  • A team of international volunteers are helping the local community with their spare time and unwanted items

A Duquesa-based charity is celebrating after raising more than 30,000 euros for good causes in the last 12 months.

The Duquesa Charitable Society of St George originally opened in 2013 and was founded by a group of foreign residents.

Now the team of international volunteers are looking for more people to help run their charity shops and Sunday markets.

Judith Beaumont, 55, secretary and shop manager at St George's, told SUR in English that raising the 30,000 euros "exceeded what they set out to do".

She said: "We never thought we would raise that kind of revenue; it feels great to exceed your goals.

"We're hoping to raise even more money over the next year."

Judith added that the charity currently has around 35 volunteers but new volunteers, both male and female, and of all nationalities, are always welcome.

The charity raises funds from two-second-hand shops in Sabinillas and one in Cancelada, a Sunday market and fundraising events throughout the year.

Judith, who is originally from Bedford in the UK, added: "In the past couple of months we've donated 5,000 euros to the Emaus social kitchen in Estepona as part of its Feed a Child campaign, providing breakfasts and lunches to school children that were previously going without; 1,156 euros to Manilva's Fibromyalgia Association, to provide a new kitchen for their headquarters and charity shop; 1,000 euros to Age Concern;

She added: "We've also given 300 euros to a local karate club to subsidise a number of children who cannot afford the fees; 600 euros to provide chess sets, boards, timers and teaching aids to two primary schools in Manilva; there are also a number of individuals who have received financial assistance for food, etc. These are just a few of the local causes that the charity assists."

In addition, the charity also runs an annual Christmas Gift Appeal with a budget of 5,000 euros, which provides gift bags for around 500 children in Manilva, Casares and Estepona, who are identified by Social Services.

"The charity also serves as a social centre and offers support for its volunteers, which is just as important as raising money for charity", says Judith.

"The local and expat community have come together, not only to provide donations to the charity, but also as volunteers and we do demonstrate that our work provides help for the entire community without exception."

The charity has a five-person committee: Dean Tyler Shelton (President), Gary Beaumont (Vice-President), Daniela Caballero (Treasurer), Judith Beaumont (Secretary and Shop Manager) and Steph Cook, and all requests for help and donations are discussed before a decision is made to go ahead.