THREE Prospect Hospice charity shops will reopen today.

All 18 of them closed in March but now retail restrictions have been lifted, they are being made safe for customers, staff and volunteers.

The branches in West Swindon Shopping Centre, Wroughton and Marlborough's High Street will be the first to open their doors post-lockdown.

Head of retail Victoria Canavan said: “Our shop closures have hit the charity quite hard as they’re a vital source of income. Perhaps more importantly though, we know these shops offer a life line to our community and in some of our shops we often see the same faces every day and can be their only form of social interaction.

"It’s incredibly important that we can once again be there for the community that supports us so well and we can’t wait to welcome our customers back today.

“Each item donated will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are sorted and sent to shops to be sold and we hope this gives our customers peace of mind that the items they purchase from us are safe to take home.”

"Our customers will see a number of changes in store that are designed to protect everyone who enters including hand sanitiser stations as they enter, protective screens at the tills, staff in PPE and some of our shops will also have one way systems to try to minimise the contact between customers.”

“We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks cleaning and clearing our shops and getting them ready for opening.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by donations from local people over the last couple of weeks.

“I want to thank everyone who had donated to us to support our work and our distribution centre is now full of donations."

Those entering hospice shops may be asked to queue outside if there are already a number of people in the shop, changing rooms will be closed and people are also being asked to use contactless payment if they can.

Hospice shops will no longer be accepting donations in store. Anyone wishing to donate should do so via the donation stations.

The shop openings have been welcomed by the charity that has estimated it will have lost £2million in income following the global pandemic after income dried up with shops being closed and events cancelled.

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