'Overwhelming' response to Welwyn Garden City hospice appeal after flooding

PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 November 2018

Volunteers Claire Gaines, Theresa Gaines and Sue Waters at the Hatfield shop in Town Centre.
Picture: Isabel Hospice

Volunteers Claire Gaines, Theresa Gaines and Sue Waters at the Hatfield shop in Town Centre. Picture: Isabel Hospice

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A Welwyn Garden City hospice has appealed for more donations of winter stock amid an "overwhelming" community response since its storage warehouse was flooded.

Eileen processes donations at the Isabel Hospice £1 shop in Hatfield.
Picture: Isabel HospiceEileen processes donations at the Isabel Hospice £1 shop in Hatfield. Picture: Isabel Hospice

More than 600 bags of assorted donated goods, which the hospice estimated to be worth thousands of pounds, were thrown away after being water damaged in the flood at the Bridge Road East, Welwyn Garden City premises the weekend before last.

A spokesperson said the community support had been “brilliant” this week following the “heartbreaking” loss of charity shop stock.

“We can’t replace 600 bags worth so we still need donations, especially winter stock,” she said.

“But from the point of view of community spirit it has been really, really good.

Ann Wesson processes donations at the Welwyn Garden City Fretherne Road shop.
Picture: Isabel HospiceAnn Wesson processes donations at the Welwyn Garden City Fretherne Road shop. Picture: Isabel Hospice

“I think a lot of people may have had things in charity bags but hadn’t made it to charity shop yet and this prompted a clear-out, which is great.

“We’re delighted with the response so far, but we need to keep going.”

People are asked to take donation directly to charity shops, rather than the hospice or warehouse, where items are not able to be stored.

While all donations are welcomed, the hospice is now appealing for warm clothing such as coats and knitwear, as well as puzzles and boardgames, in particular.

“We need winter stock especially as we can sell that immediately, whereas we will be storing summer stock, which is difficult as at the moment we don’t have storage space,” the spokesperson said.

“We don’t want to put people off donating things but things like that we really do need.”

Charity shop income is vital to Isabel Hospice, which cares for people with cancer and other life-limiting diseases.

More than 1,550 people were cared for by the hospice last year.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the response,” the spokesperson said.

“As Isabel Hospice is so local, everyone knows someone cared for by the hospice.

“That has meant quite a big ripple effect out in the community - because we’re well known, people want to help.”

Items can be donated to Isabel Hospice shops in Welwyn Garden City in Stonehills and Haldens, Hatfield Town Centre, Hatfield Galleria, Ware, Hoddesdon, Potters Bar, Cuffley, Cheshunt, Waltham Cross, Buntingford, Sawbridgeworth, and Bishop’s Stortford.

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