Willen Hospice is gearing up to open an exciting new retail concept store in Midsummer Place Shopping Centre later this month. The shop, which is located in the former Northface unit along a premium arcade, provides a unique opportunity for the charity to raise vital funds after continuing to be severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dedicated entirely to raising funds for Willen Hospice, this flagship store offers an ethical and sustainable alternative to the fast fashion industry and throwaway culture by bringing together a selection of high quality pre-loved and new items, sourced from the generosity of our local community and offered back at affordable prices. In addition to a wide range of clothing, accessories and toys, the store will also offer exclusive vintage and retro items, perfect for those with a love of one-off and rare items.

Mark Rawlins, Associate Director of Commercial at Willen Hospice said: “We are incredibly excited by this opportunity to expand our retail presence in Milton Keynes. This will be the first charity shop to open in a high-end retail shopping centre and this will be reflected in the range we have on offer. We rely heavily on the support of our local community to generate the £4.7m a year required to deliver our specialist end of life care.  Our fundraising income generated through retail and events has been severely impacted over the past 18 months.  This new store is a light at the end of a tunnel and we are very grateful to Midsummer Place for their generosity.

“The generosity doesn’t stop there. Local creative production company BCQ Group have kindly sponsored and produced all the in-store point of sale, signage and digital signage in support of Willen Hospice, leaving us to direct our income to where it’s needed most. Throughout the pandemic, our commitment to our patients has not wavered. This retail opportunity is so important to help generate vital income needed to continue delivering our compassionate care for people at the most difficult time in their lives.”

Rachael Withe, Marketing Manager at Willen Hospice adds: “This new store also offers an opportunity for our community to find out more about the services we provide, the difference their support can make and the many ways they can get involved to help us fund our vital care.  We will have interactive information stations and take our shoppers on a journey, celebrating how we have proudly been there to care for the past 40 years and how they can play a part in our future.”

The Hospice is delighted to take advantage of this temporary trading opportunity thanks to the generosity of Midsummer Place management.

Midsummer Place’s general manager, Shelley Peppard said: “We have always been an integral part of our local community and it’s a great pleasure to welcome Willen Hospice into the centre. As we have an empty store, it seemed the perfect opportunity to help our local community. Their store will give our shoppers an enhanced choice and a chance to support a very worthy cause.”

A team of Willen Hospice staff and volunteers will be pulling together as never before to turn the unit around in record time, just in time for Christmas trading. Volunteers with a passion for fashion are urgently required to help run the shop, and anyone who is available for even a few hours a week, can visit the website for more details or email volservices@willen-hospice.org.uk

The shop will not be able to accept any donations due to the limited floor space available. Supporters are urged to donate to drop any unwanted good-quality, clean items at the Kiln Farm Distribution Centre. Donation bookings can be made by visiting www.willen-hospice.org.uk/donate-items or any of the other 12 shops in the local area.

The new shop will trade during centre opening hours.