Charity prepares to open shops for business as lockdown restrictions ease

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, a local charity is preparing to reopen some of its shops to help raise money to ensure its nurses can continue to care for patients. 

St Ann’s Hospice, which has clinical teams who have been working on the front line throughout the pandemic, cares for patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses from across Greater Manchester, and has seen its fundraising income hit hard due to the crisis.   

With many fundraising events and activities cancelled, and the hospice’s busy shops closed for business, it has been hard for the organisation to raise the money needed to ensure it can continue to provide much-needed palliative and end of life care to local families. 

But, as the government changes guidance and rules around lockdown, the charity shop teams are preparing to put in place special measures to ensure they can start to trade again, whilst keeping customers, staff and volunteers safe. 

Dr Paul Jarvis, Director of Business Development at the hospice, explained: “Like many organisations, we’ve had a lot of challenges to face during this pandemic, but even more so in that our teams have been working on the front line caring for patients throughout.  As a result, we’re all used to ensuring the safety of patients, families, visitors and our staff and volunteers, and have been following all of the national government, Public Health England and NHS guidance. 

“Our fundraising income has been hit hard, but we’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of people from our local communities who have continued to think about us, despite their own personal challenges too. 

“As a charity we need to raise £20,000 a day to keep our services running for the thousands of people we care for every year. Now that the government has said that non-essential retail can open, we have decided to initially open five of our shops for customers to visit, along with our online shop too.  We know that many people rely on the shops as community hubs and for purchasing both new and pre-loved goods, and we’re pleased to be able to open in this way. 

“We will be opening our Edgeley, Stockport, Heald Green, Altrincham and Romiley shops initially, from 15th June, with Romiley opening Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm, and the others from Monday to Saturday at the same times.  The reduced opening hours will help us to keep the safety of customers, volunteers and staff at the forefront, and will ensure our teams are able to perform a deep clean on the premises before and after each day of trading.  Social distancing will be adhered to of course, as will all other government recommendations on creating retail environments that are as safe as possible for all concerned.” 

The hospice is also updating its goods donation policy for the shops, and will be taking those on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only, to ensure appropriate time to handle, isolate and clean goods safely before they are stocked in the shops.  Numbers of people in the shops will be limited, to ensure social distancing can be adhered to correctly. 

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