Willen Hospice opened the doors to its new pop-up Clearance Outlet this week. The shop, which is located in the former Staples building on Grafton Gate East, provides a unique opportunity for the charity to raise vital funds after recording a drastic 50% loss in fundraising this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Hospice has been able to take advantage of this temporary trading opportunity thanks to the generosity of the building’s owners who have offered the vacant unit on a rent and business rates free basis while they continue to look for a long term paying tenant.

The shop was officially opened by the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr Andrew Geary on Thursday (10 Dec). The first shoppers included Hannah Ingram-Moore, the daughter of Sir Captain Tom Moore, whose charitable Foundation, supports the Hospice.

Chief Executive Peta Wilkinson said: “This is the first charity outlet of its kind in Milton Keynes and we are so grateful to the property’s owners for their generosity at this incredibly difficult time. With our high street shops closed for months, and our many of our events and community activities cancelled, our fundraising income has literally been halved. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our commitment to caring for patients who are at the end of their lives, has not wavered. That is why this retail opportunity is so important to us to help generate income.

“Our team of staff and volunteers have pulled together to turn the outlet around in record time, just in time for Christmas trading. What they have achieved really is amazing so I would urge anyone who loves a bargain, to come and pay us a visit.”

The outlet is stocked full of pre-loved clothing, furniture, homewares, DVDs and books, as well as many brand new items including Christmas decorations and household essentials. Most items range from £1 to £5 (excluding furniture).

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! If you have any spare time and would be able to help out in the Clearance Outlet, we’d love to hear from you. No experience is needed, just lots of enthusiasm and willingness to learn. You’d be part of a great team and a really exciting retail opportunity for the Hospice.  Contact volservices@willen-hospice.org.uk or call 01908 663636.

The Clearance Outlet is open from 10am-4pm, Monday to Saturday and is located on Grafton Gate East. Free parking is available either side of the building.