Long-serving volunteers cut the ribbon as EACH’s new-look store reopens in Whittlesey

February 24, 2023

The manager of a revamped charity shop has admitted being “overwhelmed and humbled” by the positive public reaction.

The East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) store in Whittlesey has been given a major facelift including new flooring and the installation of energy-efficient LED lighting. It closed on 27 January but reopened on Monday 20 February.

Long-serving volunteers Phil Shortland, Iris Youles and Vanessa Moore cut the ribbon in recognition of their tireless efforts since the shop first opened in 2011.

“It’s been an amazing first week and we took £980 on Monday alone,” said shop manager Jeni Baines. Lots of people were outside waiting for us to reopen and they were chomping at the bit to see the changes.

“It’s created a real buzz and the response has been entirely positive, both in terms of customers’ comments and feedback online.

“In fact, the reaction has been overwhelming. People have said how stunning it looks, that they love the colours and that it appears bigger, because of the new layout.”

EACH’s Facilities team completed a full refurbishment of the retail area, including decorating throughout and installing energy-efficient LED lighting.

They also fitted modern, infrared heating, to make the shop warmer but with an eye on its environmental impact. The shop’s flooring has been replaced and new fittings have been installed, giving the team more flexibility and allowing them to move displays. There are also improvements away from the main retail area, to help safely store donations as they await processing.

“We consider our shop an important part of the town and community, so to have such incredible feedback has been humbling and gratifying,” added Jeni.

“I know our customers missed us when we were closed but hopefully it was worth the wait.”

The Whittlesey shop is one of 46 run by EACH to help fund its vital work supporting families and caring for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

It has three hospices, including one at Milton.

To find out more about volunteering in Whittlesey, pop into the shop in Market Street, email Jeni.Baines@each.org.uk or ring 01733 200810.