After two weeks of collecting thousands of bags of donations, Prospect Hospice is now set to open its first three shops following Covid-19 closures.
Prospect Hospice closed all of its 18 shops back in March following Government guidelines and those shops have all remained closed over the last three months. Now that restrictions for retail have been lifted, the retail team at the charity has been busy preparing shops to make them safe for staff, volunteers and customers to return.
Victoria Canavan, head of retail at Prospect Hospice, said: “We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks cleaning and clearing our shops and getting them ready for opening. Our customers will see a number of changes in store that are designed to protect everyone who enters including hand sanitiser stations as they enter, protective screens at the tills, staff in PPE and some of our shops will also have one way systems to try to minimise the contact between customers.”
Those entering hospice shops may be asked to queue outside if there are already a number of people in the shop, changing rooms will be closed and people are also being asked to use contactless payment if they can. Hospice shops will also no longer be accepting donations in store. Anyone wishing to donate should do so via the donation stations.
The shop openings have been welcomed by the charity that has estimated it will have lost £2million in income following the global pandemic after income dried up with shops being closed and events cancelled.
“Our shop closures have hit the charity quite hard as they’re a vital source of income,” explained Ms Canavan. “Perhaps more importantly though, we know these shops offer a life line to our community and in some of our shops we often see the same faces every day and can be their only form of social interaction. It’s incredibly important that we can once again be there for the community that supports us so well and we can’t wait to welcome our customers back on Monday.”
The first three shops that will open their doors are the Prospect Hospice stores at West Swindon Shopping Centre, Wroughton and the store in Marlborough at 5 High Street.
And the charity has plenty of items to sell when the shops open their doors. “We’ve been overwhelmed by donations from local people over the last couple of weeks,” said Ms Canavan. “I want to thank everyone who had donated to us to support our work and our distribution centre is now full of donations.
“Each item donated will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are sorted and sent to shops to be sold and we hope this gives our customers peace of mind that the items they purchase from us are safe to take home.”
For details of all Prospect Hospice shops and donation stations, visit www.prospect-hospice.net/retail.