Final preparations are being made to Ashgate Hospicecare’s network of shops as they get set to reopen their doors to returning shoppers next week.
The charity’s 14 shops and three coffee shops were forced to shut after the country plunged into a third lockdown.
Now, shoppers across North Derbyshire are being urged to support Ashgate’s shops when they reopen on Monday, April 12, after COVID-19 has caused the charity to lose out on more than £3 million in revenue.
Having been furloughed for much of the last 12 months, staff and volunteers are excited about returning to work so they can help fund the vital end-of-life care and support for patients and their families.
Pat Standen, Shop Manager of Ashgate Hospicecare’s Chesterfield shop in South Street, can’t wait to be back with her “wonderful” staff, supporters and volunteers.
She said: “We’re all so excited about reopening that we’ve been dancing down the street! I can’t wait to get to spend time with my wonderful team of staff and volunteers again.
“And it’s going to be brilliant to welcome all of our generous supporters to the shop; we hope to see some new faces visiting us too!
“It feels like such a long time, we’ve all really missed being at work having spent most of the last 12 months on furlough. Ashgate cared for my mum and brother which motivates me to help fund care for future families who might need the hospice, so I’m delighted to be back.
“When we shut our shop in December time it was winter, so we’ve been busy transforming the shop floor so it’s suitable for spring and summer.
“We’ve been inundated with donations from the people of Chesterfield so our shelves are filled with some fantastic pre-loved clothing and items – so make sure you come along and treat yourself to a bargain!”
Strict measures to ensure everyone is safe remain in place, including Perspex screens at pay points, COVID secure shop layouts to enable social distancing and limiting the number of customers in each shop.
Ashgate will also reopen its coffee shop at the Hasland site for takeaway only. Its coffee shops in Clowne and Shirebrook are expected to remain closed until May 17.
Laura Stevens, Head of Retail Operations at Ashgate Hospicecare, said: “We can’t wait to welcome our wonderful supporters back through the doors of our shops on Monday.
“It’s been a difficult start to the year for our volunteers and staff who have been furloughed, but they’re all eager to get going so they can help fund the vital care Ashgate provides.
“The kindness and generosity of people across North Derbyshire have meant we’ve been able to restock the shelves of our shops with new items ready for our reopening.
“We never take a single donation of clothing or a purchase from one of our shops for granted, so thank you to all the amazing supporters who have continued to support us during these challenging times.”
Anyone wishing to donate any pre-loved belongings to the charity is urged to call their local store in advance to check when the most suitable time to drop-off would be.
For details of your nearest shop, click here. For those wishing to donate furniture, photographs of the items should be emailed to email@example.com to ensure that Ashgate is able to accept the item.
Retail volunteers are also being sought to help when the shops reopen. You can find out more by asking to speak to the shop manager in your local shop or by clicking here.
VIDEO: Watch Ashgate retail staff discuss what they’re most looking forward to ahead of the charity’s shops reopening on Monday.