Delight as hospice shops bag top accolade

Bosses at a Shropshire charity are celebrating after scooping a top industry award.

LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR STEVE LEATH 14/09/2021..Pics at The Severn Hospice shop in Arleston. The shops have been recognised with an award. Front L-R:  Lucy Anderson-Woods, Norma Ross (Director of Income Generation), Back:  Tina Rogers,  Claire Goonan, Mary Jameson, Tracy Hill, Krisstel Bentley (Correct spelling)..
LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR STEVE LEATH 14/09/2021..Pics at The Severn Hospice shop in Arleston. The shops have been recognised with an award. Front L-R: Lucy Anderson-Woods, Norma Ross (Director of Income Generation), Back: Tina Rogers, Claire Goonan, Mary Jameson, Tracy Hill, Krisstel Bentley (Correct spelling)..

Severn Hospice beat off stiff opposition and was named Outstanding Charity Retailer of the Year at the Charity Retail Association awards ceremony.

The charity, which cares for thousands of people living with incurable illness in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales, has 29 shops across the region which are manned by an army of volunteers and staff.

The judging panel praised the charity’s retail arm for its handling of the Covid pandemic and how it had tackled the crisis.

Throughout the pandemic, CEO updates were made available so staff could remain in touch , along with skills training, welfare materials and guidance and regular Zoom calls with colleagues.

WhatsApp groups were established with all staff and volunteers to keep the teams together during lockdown. Staff and volunteer feedback revealed how valuable this was to individual mental health during this period.

Ross Henderson, Severn Hospice's head of retail, said: “We are overwhelmed to have won this award and beat off really strong opposition and our win is testament to our amazing staff and volunteers.

“They have worked so hard and have been the driving force behind our success. Overall, the fear and worry of the pandemic has melted away and has been replaced by a real optimism for the future.”

Severn Hospice opened its latest shop in Arleston, Telford earlier this month and launched a series of pop-up, one-day flash charity sales.

Ross added: “When shops reopened in April, all our shops reopened at the same time, on full trading hours. Staff were asked to come back to work just one day before reopening to get the shop ready, so costs were minimised. It's been great welcoming customers and donors back into our shops.

“To be recognised for this is amazing. We had an incredibly challenging time during the pandemic, as did everyone else, and we are not out of the woods yet, but we know we are on the right path.”

Severn Hospice was up against Royal Trinity Hospice, Salvation Army Trading Company, and the British Red Cross to win the title.

Jeanette Whitford the charity’s chair of Trustees added: “This is a brilliant achievement and well-deserved recognition for everyone who has worked so hard in an extraordinary time. The Trustees are very proud of the staff and volunteers running our retail section. They truly deserve this prestigious award for the way they enabled our retail outlets to thrive and bring in the income that Severn Hospice needs.”

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