Rowans Hospice cuts five shops in the Portsmouth area - but charity's redevelopment project goes ahead

As the UK took its first tentative steps towards re-opening the retail sector following the three-month lockdown, the Rowans Hospice charity is taking every precaution to ensure its retail shops comply with the strict coronavirus measures.

Promoted by Rowans Hospice
Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 12:00 am
Five Rowans Hospice charity shops will remain closed

Carol Milner, Director of Income Generation said: ‘With staff, volunteers and customers at the forefront of our plans, we have a small team working hard to prepare our shops and warehouse in readiness to re-open in a phased approach, beginning on July 6.

'Very sadly though, the charity has been forced to make difficult decisions regarding the re-opening of some of its shops. This follows the lockdown which has inevitably led to difficult financial predictions for the economy as a whole, added to which the coronavirus measures required will restrict us in so many ways.

‘This means that we will not be re-opening our Drayton, Gosport traditional, Havant, Portchester and Waterlooville shops. We are so grateful to our loyal staff, volunteers and customers associated with these shops over the years and we know this will be very sad news for all, as it is for us, and we will endeavour to offer alternative opportunities where we can.

Ruth White, chief executive of Rowans Hospice

‘We are so fortunate to be able to amalgamate our Gosport traditional with our Gosport furniture shop to form an Emporium concept, and the same at our Petersfield and Southsea shops, meaning we remain represented in these areas.

'We’re also working hard to develop retail in other ways such as our online selling site, thereby ensuring continued and sustainable income for the future.'

In anticipation of an influx of donations of pre-loved quality items from supporters who have used the lockdown to sort, declutter and organise, the charity is currently working hard to organise ‘donation stations’ around the area and appointment only ‘stop and drop’ at the charity’s warehouse in Farlington.

The charity is unable to receive donations in its shops for the foreseeable future due to strict quarantine guidelines and these new measures will ensure staff, volunteers and customers remain safe whilst in and around the charity’s premises.

Whilst difficult decisions have been made within the charity’s retail arm, it has been extremely fortunate to be able to continue its building development programme of the original hospice building during the lockdown

This is thanks to the generosity of the community and grants awarded to the hospice for its Capital Appeal throughout 2019. The charity is restricted in the way it can spend these funds because they were awarded and donated to this very specific appeal, which was dedicated to the building and development of the hospice.

Amid increased demand for end-of-life care during the coronavirus crisis, the charity pushed ahead with its development programme, re-opening nine patient bedrooms.

CEO Ruth White said: ‘I am so proud to witness the re-opening of these nine state-of-the-art ensuite bedrooms for those needing in-patient care and especially during this very difficult and uncertain period.

'However, my joy is tinged with great sadness at the decision we have had to make in closing some of our shops. I am hugely grateful to all those involved with the charity’s retail arm over the years and look forward to a time when we can increase the number of our shops again.'

The design aim of the development programme was to achieve a home-from-home feel and the completion of this first stage saw the introduction of distinct design themes to help patients and families orientate themselves within the In-Patient Unit.

Decorated using colour and design to create a garden theme, bringing the ‘outside in’, the rooms harness the power of nature with a combination of colour, pattern and textiles to help patients and especially those who may be disorientated, to navigate the space they are in.

The new rooms feature the latest technology with the installation of a suite of independent ‘touch’ controls enabling patients to achieve greater levels of comfort. Already robbed of so much independence, these features allow patients to control their own environment, including opening and closing curtains, adjusting the lighting and temperature of their room, all from their bedside.

Ruth continued: 'It has been so heartwarming to witness the progress of the development of the hospice and it is thanks to funds given specifically for this construction project that we are now able to embark on the next stage to complete the renovation of another eight patient bedrooms by September 2020.

‘I want to express huge appreciation to everyone who has shown support to date for the development project. The support means we are able to continue building today for the care of tomorrow and into the future.

‘These are difficult times, but we are so blessed to have such amazing support in the local community, from our corporate partners and from our staff and volunteers.

‘As with many others, the charity is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic. There is no doubt it faces an uphill journey, especially with the fear of another peak.

‘However, the charity has survived for almost 26 years, providing specialist care to those with complex needs at the end of their life and there is no doubt it will do everything in its power to continue the delivery of clinical services into the future for the local community.’