The manager of a leading charity shop believes its stunning revamp is a fitting reward for its dedicated volunteers. Major refurbishments including new flooring and the installation of energy-efficient lighting have been carried out at the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) store in London Road South, Lowestoft.
It closed on New Year’s Eve and reopened to the public on Thursday (26th January). Manager Lee Carter says he could not be happier with the finished product and believes it is a timely boost for his “wonderful” volunteers.
“I have 26 incredible volunteers here and realise how lucky I am,” he said.
“They’re a wonderful group of people – an amazing team – and deserve so much praise and recognition for supporting our vision. This refit is as much for them as it is the shop itself.
“Without them, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful and I’m looking forward to growing the volunteer base even more, as well as raising the profile of our shop, alongside them.”
The Lowestoft shop is one of 45 run by EACH to help fund its vital work supporting families and caring for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.
It has now been given a much-needed upgrade and the work carried out includes removing old flooring and replacing it with new vinyl and carpet tiles.
EACH’s Facilities team has also updated the lighting, installed a new fire alarm and replaced old fluorescent fittings with energy-efficient and much brighter LED lighting. Old emergency lights have also been replaced with LED ones.
The retail area has been decorated, complete with new fittings and the addition of more of the charity’s distinctive purple and orange signage. Additional storage areas have been built, a new roof has been put on one of the sheds and out-of-retail areas have been updated to provide a more efficient sorting area.
“The shop looks amazing – it’s night and day, compared to how it was before,” added Lee, who took over at Lowestoft in January 2020 after managing EACH’s shop in Halesworth.
“It’s given us all such a boost. We still have some decorating to do outside but are waiting for the warmer weather before doing that. I couldn’t be happier with the way it looks and hopefully these changes will help us go from strength to strength.
“I love working here and my transition in the last three years was made extremely easy because of the wonderful volunteers. Since January 2020, we’ve seen a steady growth in both income – now +8.6% above budget – and Gift Aid, which has shot up from 15% to 55.6%.
“This really is thanks to the support and sheer graft of our volunteers, quickly getting on board with the importance of Gift Aid and eBay income for our shop and EACH generally.”
EACH has three hospices, including The Treehouse, in Ipswich, and The Nook, in Framingham Earl, near Norwich.