Willow Wood prepares to reopen first shop

Willow Wood Hospice is preparing to reopen its first shop today (Monday), with social distancing measures in place.

The Pad furniture and homeware shop on Shepley Street in Stalybridge will initially open 9am to 3pm every day - with the exception of Thursdays and Sundays when it will be closed.

The shops on Grosvenor Street in Stalybridge and Oldham Road in Ashton will re-open on 29 June and 30 June respectively. 

The hospice say its remaining shops will be reopening on "a phased basis". 

Sharon Hodgkiess, retail operations manager at Willow Wood, said: "The closure of our shops has had a huge impact financially for the Hospice and we’ve been working behind the scenes for a few weeks now, setting up training programmes for staff and volunteers, introducing hand sanitiser stations in the shops and putting safety shields around the counters among other safety measures. 

"And can I just thank Plastic Formers Ltd who donated eight safety shields to Willow Wood, and Invopak who donated ten litres of sanitiser –  very generous and practical donations." 

The Pad’s manager, Michelle Baxter, commented: "It’s been full on these last weeks. We’re putting enhanced cleaning schedules in place, have produced posters reminding everyone of social distancing rules and will have to limit the number of shoppers in the store at any one time. 

"Our café is remaining closed in line with government advice, but the furniture and baby shop will be open as normal and there will be a limited selection of DVDs, games and books. Having said that, our opening times will have to be reduced, at least initially. This is so we can ensure all surfaces are cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis, with ‘hotspots’ sanitised throughout the day.

"We’re also facing the fact that some of our volunteers will not be returning for the time being, due to shielding issues. However, this could be an ideal opportunity for students to start volunteering with us. 

"As colleges are still closed and the long summer holidays are approaching, volunteering for a local charity will not only enhance their CV and increase their skill set, but helping keep our shops open increases our cashflow which in turn enables us to continue to care for our patients." 

Deliveries and collections will also be reinstated, but on a reduced basis - with priority given to those already booked in before the Pad had to close back in March. 

Michelle added: "Again, safety must come first and we’ll be unable to visit homes where someone is shielding or has been in contact with anyone with Covid-19 symptoms during the last couple of weeks. I know our supporters will understand the rationale behind these restrictions, and thank them for understanding." 

People are advised to follow Willow Wood Hospice on Facebook and Twitter for further details of shop openings.

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