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Gloucestershire Business News

Charity shops set to reopen from mid-June

Several leading charities in Gloucestershire have today announced they will begin reopening their high street shops from mid-June.

Gloucestershire-based Emmaus, Longfield and Pied Piper and national charities Oxfam and British Heart Foundation will start a phased reopening of their high street shops from June 15th.

Emmaus  says it will begin with its shops in Gloucester and Nailsworth, Oxfam will start with a number of shops in England aiming for as many as possible open for business by the end of July. British Heart Foundation has also announced that a few of its shops will be open for business from the second week in June.

The staggered approach being taken by the charities will ensure they are able to follow government advice on social distancing and ensure staff safety is prioritised.

But while many charities fear a tidal wave of donations in those first weeks, Emmaus is looking forward to replenishing stock hit by a fire just before Covid-19 hit.

Chief executive Joe Feeley said: "We are short of bric-a-brac and clothing at our Gloucester shop. One of our huge Portacabins was hit by a fire earlier in the year which meant we lost a lot of stock. We have hardly anything for our Gloucester store.

"We would also value furniture. We won't be doing pick-ups so if people are willing to drop furniture at our stores then that would be most appreciated."

Mr Feeley and his team, who run five stores across Gloucestershire, are also taking an unusual approach to the expected increase in donations.

"We are expecting a lot of donations and we will, in line with government guidelines, set is aside for 72 hours so we will use our unused vans as storage facilities so we can accept more items."

Longfield  , which has 20 charity shops across Gloucestershire, has announced that it will begin its staggered openings with its Stroud store on June 16th followed by the Up Hatherley shop on June 18th and Cheltenham's Bath Road store on June 19th. Other stores will open over the following weeks. They have stated that they won't be taking donations initially but are working towards a date when they can.

Director of Operation Ian Cherry said: "We are very much looking forward to welcoming our loyal customers and donors back to our shops. They will look and feel different, but the stock has been refreshed for our re-opening."

Meanwhile, shop reopenings has prompted Oxfam to call for volunteers ready to staff the facilities.

Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam  GB chief executive, said: "Our shops are a much-loved part of their communities and, at this difficult time, we can't wait to reopen our doors and reconnect with our supporters and shoppers. Our shop staff and volunteers are working hard to make sure we can welcome the public back into Oxfam stores safely.

"I know that many of us have been busy decluttering under lockdown and we're really excited about receiving any donations. We're now appealing for volunteers to help us turn these potential treasures into vital funds for life-saving work."

Julie Kent, Vice-chair of Pied Piper , said: "We are looking forward to opening in June and seeing everyone in the Court Road community in Brockworth although we are worried about the amount of donations we might have. There is only so much space."

Allison Swaine-Hughes, Retail Director at British Heart Foundation , said: "Throughout the pandemic, our number one priority has been keeping our staff, volunteers and customers safe and this continues to be the case as we plan our reopening.

"From mid-June, we will reopen a small number of BHF shops, ensuring that all necessary precautions are in place such as social distancing measures, protective equipment for staff and volunteers and the safe collection and processing of donated items.

"Once these new ways of working are established, we will continue to reopen our 750 nationwide shops and stores over the following weeks. The status of each shop, as well as our online operations, will be updated on our website."

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