I work for Revitalise, an amazing charity that usually creates holidays for disabled people and carers at our accessible respite centre Netley Waterside House in Southampton as well as a series of charity shops around Hampshire. Up until recently our shops have remained closed to the public due to the COVID-19 crisis, however I’m really pleased to let you know that we are reopening our stores from Wednesday 17th June over a four-week period.

Our charity shops are a valuable way for Revitalise to raise funds for their vital work and are crucially important in the current climate. The pandemic has hit all charities hard financially - a summary from the Institute of Fundraising estimated that half of charities in the UK potentially face collapse within six months without financial support and the average projected loss of voluntary income at almost 50%.

Revitalise desperately need the support of local customers as restrictions start to lift.

We have gone above and beyond to ensure that each of the 14 stores, dotted around the South Coast region, are safe for staff and customers, with a wide-range of health and safety measures in place, including social distancing and hand sanitising stations. The first shop to open will be in Stubbington and will be offering 3 for 2 on many of the items available as an added incentive for customers.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Revitalise have adapted their usual holiday experience at their centre at Revitalise Netley Waterside House, to instead provide a place to stay safe either short or long term, for disabled people in urgent need of respite due to the restrictions of lockdown. The centre is also supporting the NHS by welcoming non-COVID patients from local hospitals, freeing up beds for people with the virus.

We are so pleased to be reopening our charity shops and welcoming back our loyal customers, many of whom have let us know over social media that they have been missing us! We are committed to making the stores as hygienic as possible and the wellbeing of our staff and customers is the highest priority. We look forward to seeing you from Wednesday!

Anybody who is worried about whether their care support at home can continue, should contact Revitalise, who are able to offer long or short stays with full care support in place. Visit www.revitalise.org.uk

Devon Prosser