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Warehouse selling furniture and clothing for charity opens on Ipswich Waterfront

PUBLISHED: 16:46 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:46 06 October 2020

Emmaus Suffolk's chief executive Clare Staddon and retail manager Gill Dibben with Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere at the warehouse opening Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Emmaus Suffolk's chief executive Clare Staddon and retail manager Gill Dibben with Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere at the warehouse opening Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

A homelessness charity has safeguarded itself from the prospect of a future coronavirus lockdown with the opening of a new waterfront warehouse in Ipswich.

Gill Dibben with some of the furniture for sale Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDGill Dibben with some of the furniture for sale Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Emmaus Suffolk has rented a warehouse in Gower Street from Ipswich Borough Council where the charity will sell donated items such as clothing, furniture and homewares online.

Claire Staddon, chief executive of Emmaus, said the organisation was exploring “innovative ways” of trading so volunteers can continue their work tackling homelessness in Suffolk.

Emmaus is primarily funded by its three stores in Ipswich and Felixstowe - but its funding was cut earlier in the year after the lockdown forced all non-essential shops to close.

With more government restrictions relating to Covid-19 coming into force in recent weeks, the charity has opted to set up shop in the 80ft warehouse - allowing it to continue to operate even if stricter measures are introduced.

Emmaus Suffolk has opened the warehouse to continue operating in the event of a second coronavirus lockdown Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDEmmaus Suffolk has opened the warehouse to continue operating in the event of a second coronavirus lockdown Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

MORE: Ipswich Emmaus charity shop to reopen after five months

The warehouse will also provide opportunities for those experiencing social isolation in the county to be involved and work at Emmaus.

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David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, was at the warehouse for its official opening as an Emmaus branch on Tuesday.

Customers will be required to make appointments to visit Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDCustomers will be required to make appointments to visit Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Shoppers at the warehouse are asked to browse the items via Instagram or by contacting Emmaus Suffolk directly to make an appointment.

Mrs Staddon said: “We are very excited to be taking on our new warehouse space.

“Like many charities and businesses affected by the outbreak of Covid-19, we need to explore new innovative ways of working so that we can continue to trade, despite the restrictions and any future lockdowns.

“Thanks to this new storage space we will be able to start selling many items online, meaning people can shop from the comfort of their own homes and we can continue to raise money to support those in our community who need it.

“This storage space has also given us the opportunity to increase the number and range of items we stock while also freeing up space in our retail shops in Ipswich and Felixstowe, making it easier for customers to socially distance and browse in a Covid-safe way.”

Mr Ellesmere added: “I was really pleased to see our new tenants Emmaus in their warehouse today. This is a new departure for them as they respond to coronavirus by moving their furniture operation online.

“It’s great to see how our local voluntary organisations are innovating to deal with the new challenges they face.”

MORE: Suffolk charity produces new coronavirus boredom packs


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