New Store: 4 Steps to a Smile
Almost twenty years ago, Linda Sandhar-Haynes began visiting women’s refuges to ask how many people were sheltering there that Christmas, and how many gifts each refuge needed.
Armed with compassion and a personal understanding of exactly how the children and mother’s felt, Linda decided to make a change and 4 Steps to a Smile was born with a simple mission: No child should go without.
On Saturday 26th September, 4 Steps to a Smile will be relocating their Walsall base to Park Mall near the train station offering a selection of pre-loved clothing items and accessories.
We wanted to learn more about 4 Steps to a Smile, so we got chatting to Linda about how the charity came to be, stand-out moments so far and what the future looks like.
What inspired you to start 4 Steps to a Smile back in 2001?
Personally, I had been in a position where I was in desperate need for clothing, toiletries and other items when I was in a women’s refuge with my daughter. So, I thought one day, if my life changes, I would like to give back and provide for families in need.
2001 was the year, the year of change.
What would you say have been the stand-out moments for 4 steps to a Smile?
There are so many to mention! From winning a special recognition award from Pride of Birmingham, to people crying due to how grateful they are, to volunteers showing so much passion in the 4 Steps vision… I could go on and on, but I won’t!
How have you seen your work changed during the pandemic?
Through the pandemic we have had to adjust our work, offering food parcels as well as clothing and toiletries. So many families have been referred to us via social services, local councils and self-referrals.
You will soon be expanding and opening a pre-loved outlet with us in the Saddlers Centre (we are so excited!), what will this space feature and look like?
The vision that we have for the outlet is one of pride, and much more than a charity shop. The outlet will be a retail outlet for pre-loved items and a community hub where we will signpost people to different services that are available in the community amongst other things.
Anyone that wants to come in for a chat is welcome, and we will make time for this.
It’s all about being affordable an having the pride in knowing you can come into the outlet and purchase an amazing outfit for less than £10!
What kind of items would you like people to be donating?
We will be accepting donations of top-quality clothing and accessories. One bag, per person, per month.
We have an allocated donations volunteer, who will be complying with all the government guidelines in regard to COVID-19, this includes a form for people to complete for Track and Trace.
Aside from your work for the charity, what do you get up to in your spare time?
I do spend most of my time coming up with more ideas on moving forward, and in the little spare time I do have I would love to continue writing my book.
This has been an ongoing project for over 5 years, so it would be lovely to complete it and get it published.
I also have two mad dogs and a husband; they all keep me busy! I love audio books and diamond painting too!
What do you envision for the future of the charity?
Next year we are 20. The charity has come such a long way and every year we have increased what we do and adapted our workload. I started off helping three charities with over 50 gifts for Christmas, last year we helped over 64 charities and over 10,000 Christmas gifts!
We have expanded as much as I wanted for the time-being and want to enjoy opening the outlet and embracing all that the local community and Saddlers has to offer.
The vision would be to have outlets all over the country offering affordable clothing.
4 Steps to a Smile will be opening on Saturday 26th September, make sure you pay them a visit to pick up some pre-loved clothing and accessories!
The letting to 4 Steps to a Smile was completed by Avison Young. Click here for more information on how to contact our lettings agents.