BARNSLEY Hospice’s charity shops which have been a fixture across the borough for more than 30 years will close their doors this month due to difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospice made the announcement last Friday that each of its six charity shops across the borough will be forced to close.

The closure of the shops will be a huge blow to the hospice, which revealed in March that it is sustaining crippling losses of £2,300 per day.

A spokesperson for Barnsley Hospice’s charity shops said: “It is with deep sadness that we have taken the decision to permanently close all our charity shops.

“Like many other charities, our shops have been hit hard by the Covid-19 restrictions. All were forced to close for almost four months, and since reopening in July sales have been about half of what they were at the start of the year.

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“Our retail offer will be transferred to our warehouse at Fall Bank Industrial Estate in Dodworth, where there will be the full range of items, including furniture. All volunteers at the shops will be offered opportunities to continue their volunteering at this site.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision and we value the hard work of all our employees and volunteers. However, continuing to operate our shops at a loss is simply not viable for a charity and we must safeguard the provision of patient care. The hospice continues to offer vital care for people with progressive life limiting illnesses in Barnsley.

“We would like to thank the Barnsley community for their continued support.”

The hospice opened the doors to its first charity shop on Eldon Street in 1985, since then five more branches have opened - with the charity shop in Cudworth opening just last year.

In March the shops were forced to temporarily close due to restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, however since they reopened, they have only accepted a limited amount of stock to prevent the spread of the virus.

The shops help to bring in extra revenue for the hospice which has to raise cash each year to keep running.

Barnsley East MP, Stephanie Peacock, said she would continue to lobby the government to provide aid to businesses across the borough.

She said: “I am concerned at the news that Barnsley Hospice will be shutting its six charity shops due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During the pandemic, Barnsley Hospice staff continued to offer compassionate and quality care to patients and families even while facing funding challenges. I would like to thank them and the volunteers at the Barnsley Hospice charity shops for their dedication towards providing the best possible end of life care and support to families.

“Local stores and businesses have been hard-hit by lockdown measures. If you can, please consider shopping local to support Barnsley retailers and small businesses.

“I will continue to lobby the government for sector-specific support to help Barnsley businesses get back on their feet.”