Community of customers welcomed back to St Luke’s as Sheffield hospice begins phased re-opening of charity shops
There were donations aplenty, smiles all-round and bakewell tarts for the staff volunteers to enjoy when the first St Luke’s shop re-opened.
The Crookes charity shop was the first of the hospice’s chain of stores to welcome customers back, and they were very happy to see it open once more.
Marie Egerton, St Luke’s head of retail, said: “It’s been really, really good this week. The customers couldn't wait for us to open again. We had amazing sales on the first day, on Monday, and people were prepared to stand and wait in the queue.”
The store, at 252 Crookes, sells a wide range of quality second-hand goods, including clothing and furniture.
People who have been having clear-outs during lockdown were also pleased to see the shop re-open.
Marie said: “People have been extremely generous with their donations. We are following all the guidelines and all donated items go to our donation centre and are quarantined for 72 hours before they go out on the shop floor. The clothes are steamed too.
“I think people have been tidying out their wardrobes and their garages during this time; they have been donating anything and everything – basically anything they can fit in the car.
“I keep seeing all the donations we are getting and wonder how people have anything left in their homes,” she laughed.
Being able to re-open the first of their charity shops is extremely important or St Luke’s, as retail sales account for a third of the money the city-based hospice needs to keep providing care for people aged 18 and above who have terminal illnesses.
“What’s been most upsetting throughout this time is that we haven’t been able to make the income needed to give to St Luke's,” sad Marie.
“We’ve kept caring for the people we support in the same way, but we’ve had to dig in to reserves so it’s good to have the charity shop open again.
“The other shops will open in a phased way, and on Monday our Woodseats shop, 700 to 704 Chesterfield Road, will open.”
The re-opening of the shops have also been just as important to the customers.
“We are more than just a shop, we are a community, said Marie.
“We have lots of customers who we see on a regular basis. One of our customers brought us some Bakewell tarts and Monday which was lovely.
“I think this time has made people think more about the environment too, and if shop with us they will be shopping ethically and also feel really good that they are giving money to St Luke’s.”
To adhere with the government guidelines, all of the St Luke's shops are all going through a preparation week before officially opening. This allows staff and volunteers to clean thoroughly and impliment various safety measures, including signage, shield screens and changes in product display.
There are limits around the quantity of donations that can be accepted at any one time due to space available at the donation centre to hold items. People are advised to call their chosen drop-off point ahead of time for advice.
Visit www.facebook.com/StLukesHospiceSheffield for more details.