EACH announces closure of Stowmarket charity shop
- Credit: EACH
A leading charity has said it is closing its shop in Stowmarket because it is no longer viable to open.
East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) has decided not to renew the lease on the premises in Ipswich Street - with the doors to remain shut when high streets reopen in April.
It has run the shop for 11 years but says over the last few years income has steadily declined and the shop was barely breaking even before the pandemic.
Ian Nicolson, acting EACH director of income generation, said: “Despite great support the shop has received over the years, unfortunately, more recent trading levels, including before the pandemic, mean it’s no longer commercially viable for us.
“The small shop format and the difficult access for donations has made trading particularly challenging, and it has gone through a long period of slow decline that, sadly, we’ve been unable to turnaround.
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“Having taken this difficult decision, we’re now going through consultation with our staff and volunteers to whom we are most thankful for the dedication and commitment they’ve given us.
“Our many other shops remain a very successful and vital income stream for us. In fact, they’ve been more important than ever when they’ve been able to open over the last year as they’ve provided a form of stable income we simply haven’t had from traditional fundraising events."
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The charity says it remains committed to its retail operation and is soon to open a new shop in Royston, and if the right opportunity presented itself, would consider returning to Stowmarket, too.
It has 43 shops across the region bringing in around £100,000 income a week.
The charity last month forecast an operational deficit of £2million over the next year. As part of a cost-saving programme it will not be renewing the leases on its head office in Milton or office in Ipswich, with staff based there to continue an effective mix of working from home and within hospice buildings.
EACH said this would help ensure it could focus every penny it can on care delivery, during a time when its support has never been more needed as families who have been shielding become exhausted from providing care alone.