Phillis Tuckwell Shop Team – Persevering in a Pandemic

Back in March, when we entered into lockdown, little did I know that seven months later we would still be in such unprecedented  times. Our little shop in Ash is one of 19 Charity shops that Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice rely on heavily to maintain the daily running of our Hospice and our Beacon Hill Centre.

Our resources have been dramatically  impacted by this pandemic. What once was a busy, thriving part of the village, our shop has seen a dramatic drop in footfall. We are trading at limited hours because our lovely volunteers are either self-isolating or unable to return under such worrying conditions. 

I think everybody and his dog has had a major clear out of their homes and we are inundated with donations. Although we are extremely grateful for the generosity the public show us, it becomes so frustrating having to turn donations away because of the new  quarantine guidelines.

We now operate differently, only allowing four customers in at one time. Our donations are received via the back entrance to the shop allowing social distancing on the shop floor. Our rigorous cleaning routine ensures the safety of all, and government guidelines are adhered to, maintaining that each and every one of us is as safe as we possibly can be.

All our planned events regrettably had to be cancelled for obvious reasons,  and this has also impacted our Hospice funds immensely. I personally have noticed a lot of our lovely customers have not been into the shop and I wonder are they ok? are they worried to actually go out? The relief I feel when I see regular customers returning, it fills me with hope and I am so thankful they are well and feel confident enough to pop in. I have so missed the hustle and bustle of the community within our shop. 

As we are entering a new kind of ‘normal’, whatever that may be, our lovely team of ladies work so hard to support our charity and I am so grateful for the commitment they show in such frustrating times. 

What was a team of fourteen volunteers supporting the Ash shop has now diminished to four. We all miss the other lovely ladies who are unable to return at the current moment. Looking forward it looks highly likely that our Annual Christmas shopping event sadly will be cancelled this year. As we are in such uncertain times I have decided to fill the shop with lots of lovely, great value Christmas items. If there is anything that you may require such as decorations, Christmas clothing, gifts, etc. then please pop in and see us. There is also a lovely selection of party and occasion wear, at great low prices. As we do not know what this Christmas is going to entail, we reduced the prices of this sort of wear as a ‘just in case‘ we may be able to attend some events. Well, there is nothing like living in hope! Customers will be able to purchase items at a fraction of the High Street prices,  as who really wants to spend a fortune on a dress (or whatever) that may not even be used this year? Not only does it benefit our customers it’s also most importantly helping the Hospice and the families who find themselves in need of our services. I can, from past customer feedback, say that I would defy any person to pick out the outfit purchased from either the High Street or our shop and tell me which was the most expensive.

Lastly but most importantly we would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our community for all your support. And if there are any of the community that would like to spare a few hours a week to help out we would welcome you gladly.

If you’re interested, why not pop in to the shop and enquire?

By Jane Walker

Find out more about Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice shops here