Sheffield charity closes four shops due to high street downturn and lack of volunteers

A Sheffield charity has announced it is closing its four shops due to the high street downturn and a lack of volunteers.

By Ellen Beardmore
Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 10:29 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 10:29 am
Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice
Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice

Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice said it had made the decision with ‘deep sadness.’ Three of its stores, including one in Chapeltown, ceased trading on Tuesday.

The Dinnington shop which is currently temporarily closed will not now reopen.

David Wilkin, chair of trustees said: “Like many other charities, our shops have been hit hard by the Covid-19 restrictions and a nationwide downturn in high-street sales.

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"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.”

Bluebell Wood says 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 added: “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.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.Bluebell Wood temporarily closed its four stores in March 2020 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.