A vital funding lifeline is opening once more for St Giles Hospice as the charity begins a phased re-opening of its shops.

The hospice has re-opened a number of its larger stores across the region in accordance with Government guidelines. The shops will be opening on reduced hours between 10am-4pm, Monday to Saturday.

Lynwen Truesdale, Head of Retail at St Giles Hospice, said: “We are really happy to be able to welcome customers back to some of our shops – we have missed you so much!

St Giles Hospice shop manager Nicola Downes (left) and Shops Area Manager David Bush outside one of the hospice shops.

“Sadly, we won’t be able to open all of our shops at once as we implement the necessary social distancing measures that will keep our customers, staff and volunteers safe. This means that the shopping experience will be slightly different and we ask for your support for these changes.

“Thank you so much for your ongoing support and understanding and for your patience over these past few weeks. We’ve never needed you more than we need you today, and we look forward to welcoming you back through our doors.”

A phased re-opening of selected St Giles Hospice shops began on 22nd June. They included the Mere Green Superstore (not including the Bridal Boutique), the Bath Street store in Ashby-de-la-Zouch (not the bookshop), one of the Wylde Green shops on Birmingham Road and the Burntwood and Bloxwich shops, followed by one of the the Boldmere shops on Boldmere Road, the Cannock town centre shop on Wolverhampton Road and the Burton Superstore (not the bookshop), the Bilston shop, Tamworth Superstore and the Brownhills shop.

As all shops will not be opening at the same time, shoppers should check here for up-to-date opening times.

Because some of the charity’s 31 shops only have limited space, further shops will re-open only when social distancing guidelines allow. Updates will be posted on social media and at www.stgileshospice.com/shops.

Only a limited number of customers will be allowed into shops at any one time and shoppers will be encouraged to pay by card where possible. Intensive cleaning programmes will be in place and there will be antibacterial cleaning stations for customers at shop entrances.

All donated items will be stored for 72 hours before being processed, and although changing rooms will not be open there is a full refund policy on anything that needs to be brought back, with returned items being quarantined for a further 72 hours.

Lynwen added: “During this time of global pandemic our shops had to close and our income has stopped. By supporting our shops now you can make a real difference to our hospice and to the local people and their families that we are caring for during these uncertain times.”

“Your donations are incredibly welcome and we are so grateful to you for hanging on to them during lockdown. Donations should be brought to us in a box or bag, which you will not need us to return.

“We would also ask people to call ahead before making a special visit to drop off goods at the moment as storage space is limited due to quarantine guidelines and the health and safety of staff and volunteers, so there may be times when we are unable to accept further donations.”

St Giles relies heavily upon volunteers to help run its shops, and if you would like to help you can contact your local shop.

As only around a third of its funding comes from Government, St Giles Hospice relies upon donations and fundraising to raise the £850,000 it needs each month to fund its care services. In April, the hospice launched ‘Katie’s Appeal’, the charity’s urgent response to the coronavirus crisis.

People can donate to Katie’s Appeal, by making a one-off or regular monthly donation online at www.stgileshospice.com/katiesappeal or by calling 01543 432538, or by sending a cheque made payable to ‘St Giles Hospice’ to Katie’s Appeal, St Giles Hospice, Fisherwick Road, Whittington, Lichfield WS14 9LH.