Suffolk charity St Elizabeth Hospice has been taking in between 700-1000 bags of donations every day at its two retail centres at Martlesham Heath and Holywells, in Ipswich, since it started reopening its charity shops following lockdown.
The charity has 31 charity shops, and started a staggered reopening in July. To deal with donations, a newly assembled, dedicated team accepts the items before they are placed in secure vans, offsite for 72 hours before being distributed to the charity’s network of shops.
While in store, customers are encouraged to wear face coverings and hand sanitiser has also been made available for use upon entering and leaving all shops. One-way system rules have also been implemented for shopping and queuing and the St Elizabeth Hospice retail teams are encouraging people to use contactless to pay for their purchases.
Its shop on Heath Road in Ipswich was recently visited by Elene Marsden. As well as presenting on Ipswich Community Radio, Marsden is also known as Preloved Chica online, where she has a YouTube channel, is active on Instagram and has her own Preloved Chica website where she shares her charity shop purchases. She offers a preloved styling service to her customers, giving advice on how to style clothes and where to find the best bargains. Not only has she been shopping in charity shops for over 20 years, but her husband was cared for by the hospice.
“I have bought so many things from charity shops over the years, including a Giorgio Armani jacket previously owned by English actress, Felicity Kendal. I think 95% of my wardrobe must be preloved!”
“Charities like St Elizabeth Hospice rely on fundraising and donations to survive, so I feel it is really important that people venture to their local charity shops to see what they can find. By purchasing preloved items you are also helping the environment by keeping clothes out of landfill.
“I can’t encourage others enough to go to their local charity shop to have a rummage around as you never know what you might find. Charity shops are really full of wonderful gems waiting to be rediscovered.”
Main image: Inside of St Elizabeth Hospice Heath Road charity shop, credit: St Elizabeth Hospice
Pictures of Preloved Chica: first image credit St Elizabeth Hospice, images two and three, credit Elene Marsden
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