Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice said its charity stores in Chapeltown, Hellaby and Rotherham ceased trading yesterday (September 28) and the Dinnington shop which is currently temporarily closed, will now not reopen.
Bluebell Wood said a combination of factors including high street retail pressures and the impact of coronavirus has meant the stores have become loss making and no longer viable.
However, bosses say the closure of the stores will have no effect on the critical services that Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice continues to offer to children and families across the region and it will continue to raise funds through other initiatives.
David Wilkin, chair of trustees, said: “It is with deep sadness that we have taken the decision to permanently close our charity shops.
“This has been a reluctant and difficult choice by the trustees, acting in the best interests of the charity for the long term security of the organisation.
“Like many other charities, our shops have been hit hard by the Covid-19 restrictions and a nationwide downturn in high-street sales.
“Despite implementing a restructuring and recovery plan, continuing to operate our shops at a loss is simply not viable for the charity. We must safeguard child and family care.”
According to the organisation, it costs around £5 million to run the hospice in a typical year and the majority of income is generated from fundraising, donations, legacies and events.
Bluebell Wood receives less than a fifth of its funding from the NHS.
In March 2020, Bluebell Wood closed the four stores as well as its warehouse in Hellaby due to the coronavirus restrictions.
Shops had reopened in line with the easing of restrictions but the charity found it difficult to staff stores due to a lack of volunteers.
David added: “Bluebell Wood is held in very high regard across the communities of South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and North Lincolnshire and we'd like to thank everyone who has supported our shops over the years including employees, families, children, stakeholders and volunteers.
“Bluebell Wood will continue its major fundraising streams through our popular events, the charity’s lottery, and personal and corporate donations.”