Barnardo’s Scotland has implemented a phased opening of their stores across Scotland and is pleased to welcome back their customers in Renfrewshire.

Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “We have shops across Scotland including those in Barrhead, Greenock, Linwood and Newton Mearns which are hugely important to funding our community-based services which support vulnerable children and families in many different ways. The closure of our shops has had a significant impact on our ability to raise funds for those services.

“At the same time, the effects of the pandemic meant the demand for our services was at its greatest in recent years, so we were keen to reopen our stores as quickly and efficiently as possible – but making sure they were safe for our customers.”

As their shops have reopened Barnardo’s Scotland has reported donations have been flooding in, whilst they are incredibly grateful to their customers’ loyalty – holding on to their donations until their shops open – they have reported that some shops are at capacity by lunchtime and are unable to take any further donations.

Andi Gilmour, Area Business Manager for the shops in Renfrewshire, said: “As well as the volume of donations, due to post lockdown safety regulations, all stock must be quarantined for 72 hours before it can be sorted, which takes up valuable space in the shop; a number of volunteers have not yet returned to the charity which means less hands to sort donations, and fewer staff and volunteers are able to work together due to social distancing – so it’s not surprising that some stores have found themselves bursting at the seams.”

To help manage this, the charity is advising customers to call their local store before taking any donations to ensure the shop is able to take the items. Andi continued: “When items are donated to a shop our colleagues will be wearing PPE – gloves and aprons – and they will quarantine the goods in a safe and secure storage area for 72 hours. Each item will be date stamped so we know exactly when it came in to the shop. After the quarantine period is over the goods will be put out on the shop floor.”

Despite all of the new measures and extra work the charity is delighted to be trading again and welcoming customers back in to their stores. Martin Crewe added: “It’s great to see customers return to our stores, over the whole week sales in our shops were only 30% lower than normal but this was to be expected as footfall in the high streets is lower than pre-pandemic and our shops are operating with slightly reduced hours [of] 10am to 4pm rather than 9am to 5pm.

“I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our customers for their continued support, it is very much appreciated.”

Customer safety is priority and the charity has introduced some new measures in store to protect staff and customers which include perspex screens at till points; hand sanitiser station at the entrance of the store; restricted customer numbers; social distancing requirements, and the changing rooms will be closed.

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