As it prepared to open its doors following the end of lockdown, our charity shop in Warner's End, Hemel Hempstead was dealt a further blow as donations left outside the shop were set alight causing extensive damage.
The Fire Brigade was called to a fire outside the shop overnight on 30 November. The heat from the fire caused the shop window to crack and fall out with glass, dust and ash being spread throughout much of the shop.
Alison Jones, our Retail Area Manager said: “We have a big clear up operation to do here and it’s going to take us several days to organise for the window to be replaced, to clean all the ash and dust away, assess the damage to the stock and restock as needed. We’re all so disappointed as we were looking forward to welcoming our customers back on Thursday and this may now be delayed.”
All of our 26 shops have been closed during the second lockdown, losing vital income at what is usually a very busy time of year.
“It’s been so difficult for us all being closed,” continued Alison, “but following this incident, we would once again like to remind everyone how important it is not to leave donations outside our shops when they are closed. If you have quality items to donate, please hold onto them and bring them in to our shops on the designated donation days during opening hours. As we currently have to quarantine donations we are only able to accept donations at any of our shops on a Tuesday and Saturday and would like to thank our kind donors for their understanding while we work with these restrictions.”
Deborah Gould, our Director of Retail and Trading said: “This has been such a difficult year for us. Our charity shops raise vital income to fund our care for local people with life-limiting illness. We have seen our hospice at home caseload rise to record numbers, yet we have had to close our shops for many months cutting off this essential income stream.
“Now, just when we were about to re-open and try to recover some of this lost income, we face the additional costs of repairing the damage caused by this thoughtless action as well as potentially losing further trading income if we are not able to open on Thursday as planned.
“We’d like to thank the Fire Brigade for boarding up the shop to keep it safe from further damage and the council cleaners for helping us clear up the debris outside the shop. Our shops are in the heart of our local communities and we are very grateful to them for their support. It is such a shame that the good done by so many can be so easily spoiled by a few who do not think about the consequences of their actions.”
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