Oxfam reports that at least 30 of its shops in London and the Home Countries were affected by heavy rain or flooding yesterday, which could lose the charity tens of thousands of pounds in income.
Some were forced to close due to flooding or power failures. In others, volunteers spent most of the day mopping floors or swapping buckets to collect leaking water.
The Oxfam Bookshop in Gloucester Road, London, was closed after sewage came up through the sink and through the floorboards. Most of the donated books were on shelves and volunteers were able to act quickly enough to save most boxes of books.
However, shop manager Bob Carroll admitted that some of the donated items had been ruined. He added: “Hopefully we’ll get the go ahead to re-open tomorrow and we’ll have more books in the next few weeks donated to us so we can make up for what’s happened.”
Other closures in London included the Oxfam shop in Westbourne Grove, and the one in Kings Road, following the collapse of its ceiling.
The Reading Bookshop was closed during a 90-minute power cut. Shop manager Victoria Yogman said: “We have been leaking in three different places and we’re on our fifth bucket of water. Volunteers have been taking shifts in mopping up the water.”
Barney Tallack, Oxfam’s deputy Trading Director, said: “The list of shops affected by flooding has grown rapidly this afternoon and we will not know the full extent of the damage for a couple of days.
“However, donated items will have unfortunately been damaged and – what with losing at least one day’s trading, Oxfam stands to lose tens of thousands of pounds.
He paid tribute to the volunteers who had been working hard to keep the shops open, but asked the public to donate more good quality items to replace those lost in the flooding.
Six Oxfam shops in North Yorkshire were closed as a result of the floods two weeks ago. The Oxfam Shop in Pocklington, just outside Hull, remains closed and repairs are not expected to be completed for another two weeks. Across the UK there are around 750 Oxfam shops.