Like most of the retail sector across the country, charity shops are also working towards opening their doors next week to take donations to sell to loyal customers and raise vital funds.
At Prospect Hospice, the team has been working hard to ensure shops are safe to open and have started to put new plans in place across their 18 outlets.
Victoria Canavan, head of retail at Prospect Hospice said: “Our shops raise around £2million each year for the charity and that income is vital in helping provide end of life care for local people. We are therefore really keen to get our shops open to help raise funds and we know they also provide a vital lifeline to the community. That said, we’re not going to rush our opening and will ensure shops are safe to enter before they open their doors.
“We’ve been out to each of our shops and assessed whether they’re safe to open. With social distancing measures in place, and with a few tweaks, we will soon be ready to welcome customers.”
New rules will be in place for those visiting Prospect Hospice shops. If there are a number of people already inside the shop, customers may be asked to wait outside to ensure there is enough space for people to social distance. Shoppers will also be asked to keep two meters apart from others, to only pick up what they intend to buy and, where possible, shop alone and pay via contactless payment. Changing rooms will also be closed and donations no longer accepted in store.
“We know many of our supporters have been having a good clear out over the last few months and we’re really pleased that we’re finally in a position to be able to accept these donations,” said Ms Canavan. “We won’t be able to accept these in the shops at the moment but we have put measures in place to make it easy for people to donate their items and keep everyone safe.”
Donations stations will open across Swindon and north east Wiltshire from Monday 15 June for supporters to donate their pre-loved clothes, furniture, homeware, books, CDs and DVDs but the charity will no longer be able to accept toys and nursery equipment or white goods.
These stations will be a mixture of shops that the charity is unable to open at this time along with a mobile donation station that will be available in local areas including the car park next to our West Swindon shop.
Talking about what will then happen to these donations, Ms Canavan said: “To ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers and customers, all donations will be stored for 72 hours before they’re sent to our shops to be sold. We hope this gives our customers peace of mind that the products they purchase from us are safe to take home.”
To find out more about how to donate your items to Prospect Hospice, and read more about new measures in place at hospice shops, visit www.prospect-hospice.net/retail.