Huge blow as COVID-19 forces charity to close down all its shops
Written by Rother Radio News on 05/10/2020
One of Barnsley’s leading charities is to close its network of six charity shops after falling victim to the coronavirus crisis.
Barnsley Hospice provides vital care for hundreds of people each year but the funding to keep the premises operating are largely self-generated, meaning the loss of the shops is likely to create a significant long-term financial blow.
It will still continue to raise money through selling donated items, but that will all be based at its premises on the Fall Bank industrial estate at Dodworth, which is currently used as a collection and sorting point.
The hospice has three shops in the town centre and others at Cudworth, Penistone and Hoyland, the latter of which was opened only relatively recently and was planned as an outlet for more upmarket donations.
When the lockdown was imposed earlier this year, all the shops closed temporarily but sales have not recovered and managers have decided the only viable option is closure, with the shops due to go at the end of this month.
In a statement, the charity said: “It is with deep sadness that we have taken the decision to permanently close all our charity shops.
“Like many other charities, our shops have been hit hard by the Covid-19 restrictions. All were forced to close for almost four months, and since re-opening in July sales have been about half of what they were at the start of the year.
”Our retail offer will be transferred to our warehouse at Fall Bank Industrial Estate in Dodworth, where there will be the full range of items, including furniture.
“All volunteers at the shops will be offered opportunities to continue their volunteering at this site.
”This has been an extremely difficult decision and we value the hard work of all our employees and volunteers.
“However, continuing to operate our shops at a loss is simply not viable for a charity and we must safeguard the provision of patient care. The hospice continues to offer vital care for people with progressive life limiting illnesses in Barnsley.”
The hospice has an army of around 300 volunteers in total who help to keep it operating.
It opened in 1994, almost a decade after the idea to launch a hospice for the town was first hatched and has developed considerably in the intervening years, supported by grants from organisations including the National Lottery.