Age UK Northamptonshire reopens four further charity shops as demand increases 

 

Four Age UK Northamptonshire charity shops have now reopened, adding to the three Northamptonshire shops already successfully reopened in July. The charity has ensured good practise and lessons learned have been implemented in the newly reopened Brackley, Rothwell, Thrapston and Burton Latimer stores 

The four stores have opened with reduced hours initially, to enable time to replenish stock and thoroughly clean at the start and end of each day. The opening hours will be 9:30 to 15:30 Monday to Friday and 9:30 to 14:30 on Saturdays. Brackley will be open with the same hours from Tuesday to Saturday. 

 

The reopening comes after successful trials in Kettering and two Northampton stores. The charity has put in place strict social distancing, limiting the number of shoppers allowed inside at any one time. They also introduced hand sanitising stations, one-way systems and masks available to purchase for those without face covering. They have adhered to all the guidelines for social distancing which has seen shopper confidence return. 

 

Yvette Prior, Shops Coordinator explains: “We opened three stores initially to see how the COVID-19 guidelines would work in practice and to see if there was sufficient demand at this time. We’re delighted that customers have returned safely and have told us how much we were missed. Shoppers can see the lengths we’re going to in order to keep our staff, volunteers and customers safe. We also have a lot of excellent stock as people have had time to sort through their unwanted items during lockdown. It’s been great to see our shops are in demand.”

 

The reopening comes at a crucial time for the charity which has seen its income significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The locally funded charity lost income not only from the shop closures but from the loss of paid-for servicestrading and fundraising activitiesHowever, the demand for support didn’t reduce and saw the charity providing emergency hot meal, shopping and medication delivery services to hundreds of older people during lockdown

 

With the shops back in business, donations of good quality clothes, books and homeware are welcome. Customers are encouraged to ring their preferred shop before arriving with a donation to arrange safe drop off. Donations and returns are put into quarantine for 48 hours before going out on the shop floor.

 

Customers returning to Brackley, Rothwell, Thrapston and Burton Latimer will be able to pay by cash or card, but staff will encourage card payments where possible. The changing rooms will be closed and there will not be the opportunity to try on clothes, but the returns policy will allow customers to return any unwanted items and receive a full refund up to 14 days after purchase. 

 

Chris DuffAge UK Northamptonshire’s Chief Executive, said “Our shops are a lifeline for our customers, volunteers and communities and the funds they raise help us to keep providing crucial services for older people across Northamptonshire.