Wednesday, 08 July 2020

Charity shops face extra burden with donations expected to rise

Charity shops face extra burden with donations expected to rise

CHARITY shops are preparing to open their doors again.

They can restart trading on June 15 if they follow guidelines designed to reduce the risk of spreading covid-19.

This will create an extra challenge for charities as all donated goods will need to be quarantined for 72 hours.

The shops may also be inundated as many people have taken the opportunity of the lockdown to clear out their unwanted possessions.

Six of Henley’s charity shops are in Duke Street while the seventh, the Oxfam clothing and homeware shop, is in Market Place.

An Oxfam spokesman said: “We are working on a detailed plan to enable  our  high street shops to re-open but as yet we do not have a confirmed date. Our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and customers.

“Many of our volunteers are elderly and vulnerable and we are acutely conscious of our responsibilities towards them.

“We are following Government advice and taking comprehensive steps to create a safe environment, including ensuring social distancing within the shops, providing personal protective equipment, regular cleaning of all surfaces, doors and equipment, and the isolation of donated items for 72 hours prior to sale.

“We welcome the fact that many people are taking the opportunity to de-clutter during lockdown and we are asking people to hold on to those items for now and donate them to Oxfam when the shops and donation banks are open again.”

The Thames Hospice shop will re-open on June 15.

Julie Rowley, retail director, said: “We had been well ahead with our plans and we fully intend to open. All our shops will have had a deep clean and we have worked out how many customers are allowed to be in each shop at any one time and there will be clear signage outside.

“We are expecting an influx and we have measures in place to follow the 72-hour quarantine to deal with stock.

“We are very mindful that trade isn’t going to be as it was when we shut our shops — it will only be steady with limited footfall but it is great to get the doors back open.

“This pandemic has made people focus and I hope they will want to support us because they know we are trying to look after patients and support our nurses.”

The shop will have safety screens around the till area, staff will wear gloves and hand sanitiser will be available. The changing rooms will remain closed for the time being. Customers will be encouraged to pay by card.

Mrs Rowley added: “Obviously, the hospice’s income has been hugely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and many of our key fundraising events have been postponed. This has come at the same time as the demand for us to care for patients has significantly increased. We have supported vulnerable patients with covid-19 at our inpatient unit and it has been a difficult period.”

The Cancer Research shop will open some time after June 29 but no date has been confirmed.

Julie Byard, director of trading, said: “We’re listening to government advice carefully and working hard to ensure that staff, volunteers and customers can work and shop safely once we
re-open. We’re planning significant safety measures and putting new processes in place to receive and handle donations.”

The British Heart Foundation and Sue Ryder were unable to give exact dates for when their shops would re-open.

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