Readers snap up free books at town centre’s new green shop

12-481     Lesley Bowden and free books at Healthy Planet, Hemel Hempstead.
12-481 Lesley Bowden and free books at Healthy Planet, Hemel Hempstead.
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A SHOP that gives out free books has dished out more than 1,000 page turners since opening its doors last month.

The Hemel Hempstead store is part of the Healthy Planet Foundation, a charity that runs many green projects including ‘books for free’.

Books that are destined for landfill or pulping are redistributed via the shops, such as the one in Marlowes, which opened on April 20 and is run entirely by volunteers.

Book suppliers include publishers who have a surplus of books and charity shops that are struggling to sell certain titles.

Leading the team at Hemel Hempstead is self-confessed book-aholic Lesley Bowden who travels from her home in central London by train to head up the shop.

It aims to be open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday but that is dependent on the volunteers available. There are seven helpers at the moment with another two due to start shortly with more lined up.

Lesley said: “We have had a really great response from local people.

“It gives joy and pleasure to people and, not only that, it is free. When people walk through the door they can’t believe it is free.

“As it grows it becomes a little community like a mini-library and once established you start doing other things like Children’s Corners.”

Visit www.healthyplanet.org