Delight for Willow Foundation as lockdown easing sees customers flock to charity shops

Willow Foundation Steven Charlesworth

Willow Foundation shop manager Steven Charlesworth spoke to the Welwyn Hatfield Times after reopening on Monday morning. - Credit: Willow Foundation

Welwyn Garden City’s Willow Foundation shop was delighted to welcome back customers on Monday morning as lockdown restrictions eased, but the store manager has urged people to continue making donations as the charity has been hit hard by the pandemic. 

The store in Wigmore South opened its doors for the first time in months as customers flocked to pick up a bargain, and manager Steven Charlesworth was pleased to see them again. 

“We are very excited to welcome customers back,” he told the Welwyn Hatfield Times. 

“We’ve been working very hard behind the scenes to create thousands of items to sell over the next few weeks. We’ve also opened up with a big half-price sale on our winter items, because everyone needs a bargain at this time. 

“We are just so excited to open our doors to help raise money for special days. Like a lot of charities, we’ve been hit hard but our team have really focused on creating a safe space for people to shop, creating a friendly environment and just being a happy shop.” 

Willow Foundation Welwyn Garden City

Shopper at Willow's Welwyn Garden City store on Monday. - Credit: Dan Mountney

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Set up by former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson and his wife Megs, the Willow Foundation is a lasting memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer aged 31. Since 1999, the charity has provided more than 17,000 Special Days for young adults living with life-threatening conditions. 

Having really felt the impact of lockdown, the charity needs donations now more than ever, with Steven saying: “We are in desperate need of donations.  

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“We’ve been hit very hard at our five shops so it’s very important that we make a big impact on special days now we are open again, but it all depends on what comes to us. We don’t go out to people asking for stuff or bombard them with advertising.” 

Willow Foundation Welwyn Garden City

The Willow store in Wigmore South. - Credit: Dan Mountney

Willow is also determined to support their staff and volunteers through these testing times, with Steven adding: “Lots of our volunteers have been speaking to us and they’ve found not having that connection where they come in and chat to people very hard.  

“I think it’s about appreciating what’s important in life. People are so important and at Willow we love our volunteers and staff. We obviously focus on raising money for special days, but we are here to help people and we are always here if they need to talk.” 

To find out more about the Willow Foundation, visit

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