‘Fingers crossed’ for future of Oxfam shop

Oxfam volunteers with their petition, (from left) John Welsh, Rita Nottage, Tony Leigh, Jan Withers, Daniel Hagge, Betty Matthews, Shirley Atkins and Carol Simmonds.
Oxfam volunteers with their petition, (from left) John Welsh, Rita Nottage, Tony Leigh, Jan Withers, Daniel Hagge, Betty Matthews, Shirley Atkins and Carol Simmonds.

VOLUNTEERS and staff at Spalding’s Oxfam shop have their “fingers crossed” that a new business plan and 500-name petition will help save it from closure.

Charity bosses have told the struggling store it needs to clear £25,000 profit on top of its annual running costs or doors could close for the final time after 50 years of trading in December.

But supporters have rallied round to show their support for the work the shop does, by popping in to sign the petition and boost profits by buying items.

Manager Rita Nottage said: “People have been amazing. I can’t fault them because they have been 100 per cent supportive and they have been coming in just to sign the petition.

“We took six pages to head office last week and now we have at least four more pages, so probably 400 to 500 names in total, and now it’s just a waiting game to see if it’s enough.”

Oxfam’s area manager has also submitted a business plan outlining ideas to boost profits and staff and volunteers have all signed a letter pleading for the shop’s future to the charity’s head of retail.

Since the Spalding Guardian revealed the shop’s plight last month, new volunteers have also put themselves forward to work behind the counter and sort stock.

And Mrs Nottage said she believed takings may be up slightly as a result of more people visiting the shop.

She said: “Everyone is saying to us that the shop just cannot close. It seems as though many people feel it belongs to Spalding.

“We will keep the petition going for a bit longer and just keep our fingers crossed.”

Spalding Oxfam branch founder Betty Matthews said she has been amazed by the support shown by local people.

She said: “Our profits are definitely gone down in recent years because of the recesssion, but people are saying it’s terrible that they could close a charity shop.

“But the meetings are still ongoing and the future is still being discussed so we’ll have to wait and see.”