Ipswich: Charity shops are hit by late spring

Maureen Pegg, Tess Last and Robert Rainbird at the RSPCA shop in Tacket Street.

Maureen Pegg, Tess Last and Robert Rainbird at the RSPCA shop in Tacket Street. - Credit: Archant

CHARITY shops in the town have been suffering – because of the late arrival of spring.

The prolonged cold weather has left many stores short of stock as people delay their traditional spring clean.

Richard Leeder, manager of the Mind shop in St Matthew’s Street, said: “The turn of the season is usually a fantastic time for us. Ipswich supporters relish the first weeks of sunshine and look to clear out in preparation for warmer months.

“This year it’s a very different story.”

The RSPCA Suffolk East and Ipswich shop moved to its new location in Tacket Street in November last year – and, while business is booming, stocks are low.

Manager Tess Last said: “Now the weather has improved, we’ve got customers coming in, but stocks are rapidly depleting.

“I know the council introducing the recycling bags for textiles hasn’t helped.

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“The people that support the RSPCA do give us very nice things, we just don’t get enough of them.”

The shop, which funds the RSPCA centre in Martlesham, also offers a pick-up service for those unable to drop items off at the shop.

Heather Hammond, manager at the British Heart Foundation shop in Carr Street, said the shop is running low on spring and summer stock.

She said: “You get a bit of snow and a bit of rain and there’s no stock.”

Andrea Dency, manager at Cancer Research UK in Westgate Street, said the lack of donations has more to do with the economic climate.

She said: “We’re really struggling at the moment for quality donated goods.

“I think people are selling it, or making do with what they’ve got because they can’t afford new.

“I get half the donations I used to get four years ago.

“The weather doesn’t help, of course.”

Jason Morris, assistant manager at the British Red Cross shop in Upper Brook Street, added: “We are in a similar position; donations have dropped.

“I think it’s a mix of weather and the economy.”

Martyn Berry at St Elizabeth Hospice in St Matthew’s Street added: “We’re OK at the moment because we’ve got about 15-16 shops countywide, so we share things.

“We don’t get that many donations through the door at this particular shop though.”