by Maxine Gordon

SIX designer wedding dresses are to be "auctioned" off in a novel fundraising drive for a community wellbeing service in York.

The Healing Clinic, in Museum Street which specialises in complementary therapies, is "selling" the brand-new dresses worth a total of £5,000 through a crowdfunding initiative. Money raised will help pay towards the clinic's move into fully accessible premises in the city centre.

The dresses have been donated by AJ Bridal Wear, Newcastle. The aim is for well-wishers to pledge money to the Healing Clinic which, in return, will give the dresses, free of charge, to six brides who otherwise would not be able to afford their dream dress.

Clinic director June Tranmer said: "There will be people who would love to have a wedding dress like this, but can't afford it. So we have decided to do crowdfunding. That way, people are contributing to us, but at the same time are contributing to someone's dream wedding."

One of the dresses is being donated to a woman with special needs who worked as a volunteer at the clinic for three years, said June.

But nominations are currently being sought for the other five dresses, which are all full length, white and off-white gowns, in sizes 12, 16 and 18.

June said: "We can't pay back the people who donated the dresses, so we want to pay it forward."

She added that donations for the new clinic would benefit many people in the community. The new city centre premises in the former Savills estate agents building in Merchantgate will be fully accessible – unlike the current building which has stairs at the entrance and down to some of the treatment rooms.

The Healing Clinic shares its premises with Briar House Resources which provides a meeting space for local businesses, the voluntary sector and the local community.

Briar House will be relocating to the Merchantgate site too, creating a fully-accessible community hub, said June. Doors should be opened by the end of October, she added.

The Healing Clinic will continue to offer its range of services, which include acupuncture, aromatherapy and counselling, as well as provide space for community groups to conduct work such as art therapy and support for refugees and people with mental health problems.

June welcomed nominations from readers of The Press. She said: "It's going to be really hard to choose, but the dresses are for people who really want a wedding dress but cannot afford it."

To find out more, or to nominate someone for a dress, email: