Community steps in after charity shop donations destroyed in blaze

Sue Ryder 'Engagement Champion' - and shop manager Claire Golding-Smith.  Picture:  Malcolm Wells
Sue Ryder 'Engagement Champion' - and shop manager Claire Golding-Smith. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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DONATIONS have begun to pour in for a charity shop after a fire destroyed items and forced staff to close for three days.

Volunteers at the Sue Ryder Stubbington Green branch had to throw away a large amount of goods after the blaze left them unsellable.

The shop made an urgent appeal for the public to send in donations, and staff 
have been left delighted by 
the local community’s response.

Shop manager Claire Golding-Smith said: ‘We were called out in the early hours of the morning, and saw that lots of smoke had been blown through the windows.

‘There was a lot of cleaning up for us to do. Most of the donations weren’t too bad but unfortunately it was the new goods that had been damaged the most.’

The fire, which happened at the beginning of June, was started in bins at the back of the shop.

The back door and windows had to be replaced, meaning those who usually used the area to drop off donations could not do so while work was going on.

Since the repairs were completed last weekend, there has been a boost in the number of drop-offs.

Claire, who has managed the shop for about three and a half years, said: ‘The community has been really good, we’ve had people coming in and who have heard about us and just say “what do you need?”.

‘There have been a lot of posts going up on Facebook. The news has gone round on social media.

‘It has been really tough for our volunteers but we have got through it.

‘They have all worked so hard and I have been very proud of them.’

The shop currently has about 30 volunteers working shifts, with about half a dozen joining up since the fire.

Staff are still appealing 
for donations, and are in most in need of ladieswear, shoes, handbags and bric-a-brac.

The shop has been trading in Stubbington for nine years, and is one of about 449 across the UK.

The charity also has seven hospices and five neurological centres across the UK.

Donations are used to help fund the charity’s hospice and neurological care.

The shop is also in need of more volunteers.

For more information on donating and volunteering at the shop contact the team on 01329 661 058.