Happy shoppers have brought a welcome boost to funding since Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland’s charity shops reopened.

Post lockdown our shops in Carlisle, Penrith, Keswick and Wigton opened their doors to a surge of generosity in both custom and donations.

Jo Hardy, manager of Penrith’s shop, says she was overwhelmed and pleased with the level of support since reopening on June 25.

The shop reopened to take donations on June 15 and with so many people making a contribution, a storage facility needed to be found as there wasn’t room to store everything.

“The customers have been really good and were just so pleased to see us open. They’ve missed this kind of shopping,” says Jo.

“The sales have been way better than I anticipated. It’s all the unknown so I didn’t really know whether customers would come back and how they would feel about charity shopping, but it’s been better than I expected. I think everyone was just ready to do a bit of shopping.”

The shops are a key part of our funding and rely on the generosity of donations and customers, but they could not open without the help of volunteers.

Jo runs the shop in Penrith with the help of assistant manager Zoe and 25 volunteers ensure it can remain in operation.

While the shop has had to adapt, with Government guidelines in place, the volunteers have been keen to offer their services once again.

“They’ve all be desperate to get back and I still haven’t got them all back yet. I know they want to be back but it’s important that I keep everybody safe,” said Jo.

“We couldn’t open at all without the volunteers.”

Jo says it has all been a bit of a “coronacoaster” – the high of returning to work mixed with the worry of keeping staff and customers safe.

But she adds: “I’m always grateful for the support. We always get a lot of local support and I’m very passionate about this shop being part of the local community.

“I like to think of us as a little independent shop, along with all the other independent shops. I think of it as my own shop. I know it’s not but I feel very proud of it.”

If you would like to make a donation to any of our shops please contact them in advance.

Thank you for your support.

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