Wigan charity in call for volunteers, stock and customers

Volunteers at the Samaritans outlet on Hallgate fear their shop might even close if income can’t be boosted quickly

Friday, 21st May 2021, 3:46 pm
Nancy Tabrizi at the Samritans charity shop in Hallgate; they are desperately short of stock and volunteers.

A Wigan charity shop has made a desperate appeal for more stock, staff and customers as it struggles to make any money for a cause that has never been in greater need than during the pandemic.

Volunteers at the Samaritans outlet on Hallgate fear it might even close if income can’t be boosted quickly because at the moment it isn’t even covering the rent.

And the need for a round-the-clock helpline for people with suicidal thoughts and other mental health issues has been hitting a new high due to the impact of Covid and related restrictions.

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Sue Sharples looks through the stock

Since the first national lockdown was ordered by the Government in March last year, the Samaritans shop had only been open for a few weeks in the summer before re-opening again three weeks ago.

And there hasn’t been a great deal of custom and money coming in since, not helped by the fact that the shop has only enough volunteers at present to open from 10am to 1pm weekdays rather than full time six days a week.

Volunteer Jennifer Catterall said: “The work of the Samaritans is so important and rarely more so after the year or so we have just had.

“The toll the pandemic has taken on mental health is well known and there are a lot more people seeking help. We have even had people ringing up the shop for assistance.

Sue Sharples looks through the stock

“There are very few charities who can offer a lifeline like this, but we can only run 24-hour phone lines if we are getting enough income. Frankly it has been a real struggle to make money of late.

“We need more customers through the door, we would very much welcome more donations of any kind - except electrical goods - and it would be great if people came forward to volunteer a few hours of their time each week so that the shop can be open for longer hours.

“At the moment we are not even meeting the rent on the premises.

“And the rent is up for review in a couple of months which makes us worry that they might decide it’s not worth the while keeping us open, which would be an absolute tragedy.”

Anyone prepared to give some time volunteering at the shop can either turn up there on a weekday between 10am and 1pm or ring 01942 204298.

Likewise turn up with pre-loved donations during opening hours.

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