WE are now into the second week of our phased reopening of hospice shops, and are delighted to be welcoming customers and volunteers again.

Last week saw three of our shops open for business in St Swithin’s Street, Worcester, and our two stores in Malvern Link.

We had a good first week, with each store well managed to ensure no overcrowding and shoppers were very considerate about social distancing.

During this week, we will reopen shops in Kidderminster, Bewdley, Stourport, Pershore, Evesham and Tewkesbury. Our aim is to have all our shops open by the end of July.

It has been an incredibly busy time for the commercial team, which has been preparing each shop to ensure they are as safe as possible for our customers, volunteers and staff.

New rules are in place, to protect against the spread of coronavirus, including restricting the number of customers in a shop at a time, asking everyone to use card payment, providing hand sanitiser, and closing our changing rooms.

We will soon be taking donations once again at a limited number of sites across the county.

From June 30, donations can be dropped directly into containers at our shop in Pershore, the Malvern Link Department Store, and our warehouse in Leigh Sinton, between 10am and 3pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays only.

And from July 1, people can also drop items off to a container at our Evesham shop between 10am and 3pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

To meet infection control guidelines, the containers will be shut and locked, isolating the donations for 72 hours before they are processed. This is why we are limiting the days on which people can donate.

We’re urging all our generous supporters to only donate good quality items, as it costs us thousands each year to dispose of goods which are not fit for sale and cannot be recycled, such as dirty or damaged items.

Please be thoughtful when donating to help us raise as much as possible for our care to patients and their loved ones.

For guidance on donating, visit our website, strichards.org.uk/our-shops

Finally, I’d like to say thank you to all our customers, donors and volunteers for their patience and understanding while we have been closed. We hope to see you soon!