Hospice charity shops ready to welcome public back

The network of stores across the borough are eagerly flinging the doors open once more today.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 7:00 am

Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH) says all 11 of its stores across the borough are re-opening today (Monday) as non-essential retail returns. .

And the charity’s excitement at welcoming customers back is matched by the teams who work there, who have been anticipating the return of shopping to people’s everyday lives.

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Sue Spreeth, Ann Hill and Carol Carney at the hospice's charity shop in Hindley

The re-opening of the charity shops is also an important milestone for the hospice as the 11 stores provide a crucial source of revenue which supports its work providing palliative and end-of-life care to residents at its Hindley headquarters and in their homes.

The hospice has managed to use online shopping to plug some of the financial gaps but admits it has not fully made up for having to keep the bricks-and-mortar venues closed.

Jenny McAvoy, retail co-ordinator for WLH, said: “Our volunteers have been chomping at the bit to come back. They have missed their colleagues, their customers and giving back to the hospice.

“They are desperate to start raising money for the hospice because they have been worried about how these lockdowns have affected the income. They are also really looking forward to having that social contact back again.

“We are very lucky to have such dedicated volunteers in our shops and to have such loyal customers. Our customers have been making enquiries for weeks as to when we would be re-opening: people want to shop with us and they want to donate.

“Being without that shop income has been a challenge throughout the pandemic. Online sales have been a godsend but the shop income is a very big chunk of what the hospice receives from the community so it’s important to get the shops open.”

The hospice contacted its 400 retail volunteers and found the majority were keen to come back straight away.

Although some have decided to wait until they have had their second doses of a vaccine, enough staff have returned for all 11 stores to be open again.

The hospice’s outlet at popular retail destination Bygone Times at Eccleston also opened up again on Monday.

The hospice stores will be running restricted hours to allow for extra cleaning and to allow them to re-establish themselves, with all shops open between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday.

Donations can only be made on Fridays so items can be quarantined over the weekend.

The hospice’s furniture collection service has also resumed and slots can now be booked by ringing WLH on 01942 525566 or visiting www.wlh.org.uk

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