Bristol charity warns of £1m deficit after shops shut during lockdown

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Charity shops have reopened their doors and for many it will mean they can now claw back much-needed donations which have been lost during lockdown. 

St Peter's Hospice in Bristol is starting its financial year with a budget deficit of £1million. Today (Monday 12 April) all 47 of the hospice's shops reopened inline with retail restrictions being lifted after the third lockdown.

Area Manager for the South of Bristol Louisa Merchant Locke said: "We are starting this financial year with a budget deficit of £1million and we genuinely feel that everybody that needs the care of St Peter's Hospice should be able to have that care.

St Peter's Hospice is hoping the next 12 months will be easier as shops reopen.

"So we are very conscious of how much we need the support of Bristol even more now.

"It's going to be an exciting year, we want to make sure the tills are ringing and that we are selling lots of stuff and being able to support the hospice a much as we can."

The Bristol charity cares for adults with life-limiting illnesses free of charge, but it costs around £22,000 a day to deliver.

For most of this money the charity relies on gifts in wills, donations, fundraising and its shops - with more than £2million coming from its stores.

This year the charity is celebrating 40 years of its shops.

The St Peter's Hospice shop at Gloucester Road in Bristol in the 1980s Credit: St Peter's Hospice

Mildred Ford was one of the initial volunteers to work at the hospice's first charity shop in Totterdown.

The great-grandmother, who is 90 and from Knowle, has seen some unusual donations in her time, including plenty of holy socks: "In those days people weren't as discerning as they are now about what they gave.

"But on one occasion I can remember somebody donated a beautiful brooch.

"We took it down to the jewellers to get it valued and it was worth £150, which was a lot of money in those days."

Mildred Ford was a volunteer in the Hospice's first shop

One customer had even tried to buy Mildred's favourite coat.

She said: "It was hung up behind the counter when this woman came in and started looking at it before asking me how much it was. It had a lovely cameo brooch of my mum's pinned to it.

"She asked me how much and I said £50, then added she'd have to pay a lot more than that as it was my coat."

St Peter's Hospice shops are accepting donations. Find out when here.

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