Since reopening all 23 of their charity shops last month, Essex-based charity Havens Hospices has been overwhelmed by the kindness of its supporters.
Opening the doors of its shops on 15th June, Havens Hospices received an incredible 5,500 bags of clothes, toys and books within its first week of accepting donations – up by 89 per cent compared to the week before it had to close on 23rd March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The charity – which provides palliative nursing and supportive care to children, adults and their families across Essex – was expecting an influx of donations from people’s ‘Covid Clear Outs’ after being closed for three months, and had put new processes in place at each shop to manage this.
Sue Pettafor, Manager of the Leigh shop located in Leigh Road said, “I have never known the shop so busy with donations and I have worked for Havens Hospices for 15 years. We are working incredibly hard to process and manage all the donations coming into the shops as well as make sure everything is clean and sanitised for our customers, staff and volunteers.
“Thank you so much to our volunteers who have been helping us run the shop and manage donations – we couldn’t do it without them – and also our fantastic customers who have been very understanding during these unprecedented times.”
Trevor Johnson, Director of Income Generation at Havens Hospices can’t thank the customers enough for sticking by the charity and continuing to visit its shops:
“We have had a very successful first couple of weeks of reopening and that is all down to our wonderful supporters from across the whole of Essex, and of course our staff and volunteers who have been working incredibly hard to adapt to the ‘new normal’, implementing the new safety and hygiene measures so everyone can shop safely.”
“On the first day of reopening our sales increased by 23 per cent compared to what we normally take on an average day – that was even with the shorter opening hours – and customers queued outside patiently waiting to see what new items we had in store for them which was lovely to see.”
Trevor believes that the post-lockdown period is giving charity shops time to shine, offering affordable and unique items during difficult economic time when people may have less disposable income. “Like many charity retailers I come from a “normal” retail background and often charity retail has been looked at as the poor relation.
“How many of us have heard “not another charity shop” only for us to become the busiest shop on the shopping parade once we reopened. We are highly responsive to customer need, enabling people to buy things that are not available elsewhere at an amazing price.
“Our charity shops also help make our planet a better place by recycling and selling preloved items for people to reuse. Through our 23 charity shops we save 1,000 tons a year from landfill by helping preloved items find a new home. Additionally, we enhance our communities through volunteering as well as building relationships with our regular customers.”
For more information visit Havens Hospices