WH Five Loaves to expand shop to cater for Bray’s bookworms

The WH Five Loaves charity shop on Bray Main Street.

Tom GalvinBray People

One of Bray’s most beloved charitable organisations, WH Five Loaves Bray, has announced it is expanding its shop at the top of Bray Main Street, thanks in no small part to the volume of donations it has received from supporters in the community, which has made the charity rethink what it offers to its customers.

In fact, the charity has found a niche in the town’s retail sector that it believes it can fill.

Five Loaves provides support to people who are homeless. The income generated by the charity shop helps the organisation to maintain its services, including a drop-in centre, hot breakfasts and dinners and support and information. The charity also provides a food bank for those in need.

WH Five Loaves (WH stands for Wicklow Homeless) has been catering for the needs of the homeless for about 20 years, beginning with a soup run, before opening a drop-in centre on Albert Walk. Following the demands at the centre, the charity got the green light to open its first shop in the recycling centre, on Boghall Road, in 2008.

However, to its dismay, the charity lost its lease on the shop and had to vacate the premises in the summer of 2021, with the team saying at the time they were “beyond devastated”.

There was good news one year later, when the organisation managed to secure a lease on its current premises, at the top of the Main Street, adjacent to Bray Credit Union in the former constituency offices of Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

Having settled in well at the new location, the charity decided to move into the space formerly occupied by Town Hall Electrical. But the expansion does come with a very specific purpose.

In a post on its Facebook page, it said: “We are very excited to announce that we will be expanding our Charity Boutique into next door. (Previously Town Hall Electric. RIP Liam.)

“Over the past year we’ve been extremely blessed with some amazing donations from all our supporters in the community,” it added.

“One thing, in particular, we noticed was standing out to us. Books! So many books.

“The new shop will be a little second-hand book shop, something Bray has been missing for a while now. It will also have collectable comics, vintage vinyl, movies and more. Hopefully something for everyone.

“We can’t wait for you to see all the exciting things we have planned for the ‘Booktique’ and to at long last bring back a designated space for amazing second-hand books to the community.”