Primarily the shop will be open every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10am until 3pm. But don’t worry if you can’t come in on those days as the shop will also open on the fourth Monday of each month also from 10am until 3pm.

About the Charity

A little over three years ago an anonymous donor handed the keys of a van to Ricky Dee and told him the van was now his to use as he liked to support the community. At the time Ricky and his wife Dee, who sadly passed away soon after, were running the Charity Barn at the Olive Branch (now Roosters) near Messines, raising money to support the Bombeiros . The donor had been impressed by what he had seen and was confident that the van would be put to good use. He was right. In these three years , regardless of the pandemic, lockdowns and personal issues, Ricky and the team he built have raised in excess of €50,000, all of which has gone to support various charities across the Algarve as well as supporting individuals in crises.

Soon after the donation of the van there was a massive fire in Monchique and, the now named, Charity Van, did several trips to the affected area delivering water and other requirements to the Bombeiros and food and essentials to some of the families whose homes had been damaged. It was at this stage that Ricky identified that many of the families needed replacement furniture etc and he made an appeal for help. He also recognised that he needed storage for the donated items so he approached the President of Messines (pestered might be a more appropriate word) and eventually was offered a warehouse to store the furniture whilst it was being sorted out. And so the Charity Warehouse was born!

As the donations poured in it became clear that there was far more than that needed in Monchique so , with the approval of the donors the team started to sell excess items whilst still providing free of charge for families in need.

Donations flooded in and the team, by this time known as Arm in Arm, were able to support a vast array of charities and individuals across the Algarve working in partnership to increase the help they were able to give. Along with money raised via the warehouse, fun auctions were held which everyone looked forward to.

The team has worked tirelessly through the last three years, helping countless families and institutions throughout the area. Even when the lockdown forced the closure of the warehouse, Ricky and his colleagues joined forces with the Algarve Network for Families in Need to bring food to those families left without during that difficult period. They covered the Messines and Paderne areas, supporting food banks but were happy to go further afield if a crisis occurred.

Following the lockdown it was business as usual, the warehouse re-opened and work resumed.

Christmas 2020 saw Ricky and his colleague helping to collect, sort and deliver Reverse Advent Calendars in conjunction with Families in Need and Chantelle Kortekaas who runs the initiative.

Now it is time to move on and the opening of the shop will be a major step forward in bringing this service to more people. Based in the centre of Messines, the shop will be more readily accessible to those with and without transport and with its wide array of stock it will have something for everyone. And remember, every penny spent in the shop will go to a local charity or individual in need. .Everyone who works for Arm in Arm is a volunteer who gives of their time happily because they really believe in this cause.

With more hours to cover the charity is now in need of additional volunteers. If you would like to join this winning team and spend a day a week in this new venture do contact Arm in Arm. (Facebook page is: THE CHARITY VAN; ARM IN ARM or call Ricky: (+351) 910828815).

There is also an ongoing need for donations of all kinds. If you would like to donate furniture, household items, toys or personal goods or any other items which may be useful to a family, please email Arm in Arm, again see details on the facebook page.

The amazing work carried out by this equally amazing team could not have happened were it not for the ongoing kindness of all those who have donated over the years. The team is so very grateful to all those who have donated through these last three years - you have made so much difference to the lives of so many families. And to that man who handed the keys to Ricky three years ago, I hope you are happy with the work that has been done. I think it can safely be said that ‘the boy (and his team) done good’!