Warehouse selling furniture and clothing for charity opens on Ipswich Waterfront
PUBLISHED: 16:46 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:46 06 October 2020
A homelessness charity has safeguarded itself from the prospect of a future coronavirus lockdown with the opening of a new waterfront warehouse in Ipswich.
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.
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.
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.”
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