Published on 13 April 2021 11:59 AM
Shoppers, volunteers, and donations: we need them all to help us support vulnerable and lonely older people across the district.
As lockdown eases, our shops start opening their doors from Monday, April 12. And there’s exciting news for later this year, with a new retail outlet being planned, and a continuation of our increasingly popular eBay store.
Age UK Lindsey relies on its shops to raise vital revenue, with all the profits going towards the work we do with vulnerable older people in East Lindsey, West Lindsey and North Lincolnshire. This includes staffing the Information and Advice Service, which during the year-long pandemic ensured that more than £3m in unclaimed welfare benefits went to older people, many who did not know they were entitled to it.
The first shops to open on April 12 are Eastgate, Louth; Lumley Road, Skegness; Station Road, Woodhall Spa; High Street, Coningsby; High Street, Spilsby; Queen Street, Market Rasen, and Wrawby Street, Brigg. The Horncastle shop, in the Market Place, and the Barton on Humber shop will re-open later this spring.
As shoppers return, volunteers are needed to help with general duties including stock sorting, steaming, assisting customers, and supporting the growth of the charity’s eBay sales. All volunteers receive full training and work alongside a store manager, with modern till services and tablets.
Director of Operations and Partnerships, Donna Murphy, said it was an ideal opportunity for people to help their local communities or gain valuable work experience.
“We do find that a number of volunteers have progressed into paid roles with us, or go on to find permanent work elsewhere, or they just enjoy mixing with people and supporting us in the work we do,” she said, stressing that all the shops were fully COVID compliant and equipped with screens and sanitiser stations with staff wearing clear face masks.
Donna added how the charity thanked funders, including The National Lottery Community Fund, and Key Fund for its funding of the Social Enterprise Support Fund. This had enabled improvements within the shops and the provision of full PPE for the teams.
Spilsby Shop Manager Jane Eglin said how much she and fellow managers were looking forward to opening again. Over the last year Jane has led the charity’s drive for eBay online sales.
“Of course, nothing will beat being in the shops and seeing people coming in and picking up the good bargains we have – when we open, we will be showing off our summer clothing, and we’re all getting ready. The last time the shops were open was before Christmas and we still had the winter range on display – I think there was still a Santa in the window of one of the stores,” said Jane.
“However, that will all be changed by April 12th and we look forward to welcoming people back. The eBay sales have been great though and will continue – the beauty of that being people from anywhere can buy, I sold a Concorde and Red Arrows puzzle to a buyer in Germany,” added Jane, who reminded people that the shops also welcomed good quality, saleable donations.