STOCKING UP: Ovington resident Lisa Coward, right, often donates to charity and is pictured with Barbara Faulkner, from the Mind shop
STOCKING UP: Ovington resident Lisa Coward, right, often donates to charity and is pictured with Barbara Faulkner, from the Mind shop

CHARITY shops are enjoying a donation boon following the easing of restrictions as people have taken the time to clear out attics and cupboards of unwanted items – though with social distancing in place processing all the goods is taken much longer than before.
Donated items now have to be quarantined for 48 hours before volunteers and staff can process them to be put out on the shelves.
William Wearmouth, manager at Oxfam, said he had been inundated with gift items and had “suspended taking anything more for the time being”.
He added: “We have benefitted massively from people having a bit of a clear out. But for the time being we have stopped taking donations as we’ve run out of room as we had so much coming through.”
However, managers at the five charity shops that are open are keeping in touch with one another, providing support and ideas on operating, even recommending who and where to donate to if they run out of room.
Barbara Faulkner, manager at the Mind shop, which was the first store to reopen to the public, said: “We all keep in touch with each other and let each other know what we are not accepting any more and recommend others.
“It was marvellous when we did reopen and customers have been really understanding and patient and we are getting so many more bags donated now. We’re getting about 200 to 300 more bags a week than we normally get.
“We’ve definitely had more bedding coming through and books, lots more books. We always had a good selection, but we have piles of them now.”
Craig Woodgate, sales assistant at Barnardo’s Shop, said the increase in donations had been staggering. He added notices in the shop windows had helped stop people from leaving donations in the doorway, which poses a health risk and can lead to problems with the council.
He said: “If the council sees bags in the door way they think it’s fly tipping and because of Covid-19 it is more of a problem for staff if people leave things there. We put up posters in the window and ask anyone to bring donations into the store.”
Age UK, in Galgate, said there was a problem with donated items being left on the pavement outside the shop during lockdown.
Store manager Jennifer Wytcherley said: “It was only a problem during lockdown as staff were on furlough so we couldn’t deal with it. Customers have been really understanding since we reopened and know that things have to be left in the corridor at the side.
“We’ve not run out of space, yet. A week before we opened to the public we had a big sort out and made sure our backroom space was cleared and ready.
“We know that a lot of people who haven’t previously given to charity have donated as many of the bags don’t have Gift Aid tags on them, which is great to see.”