Were there any benefits of lockdown? It’s hard to think what these could be, especially as non-essential shops including charity shops had to close as they were not seen as ‘essential’ although this could be argued.

East Lancashire Hospice Darwen Charity Shop Manager, Michelle Laffan said: “The funding we receive from our charity shops and furniture warehouse ceased overnight during lockdown, but if we were to look at the positives, people are aware now, more than ever, of shopping local and bringing back that real community feeling of the high street and town centres.

“Our shops are true examples of this. When you donate directly to one them or our furniture warehouse, it is more likely that these items are kept in the local area with all the profit going to help us to carry on helping local people.

“By donating or buying, you are giving back to our own community. This isn’t the only benefit, on a much bigger scale you are also helping the environment.”

Michelle continued: “Just as Aldi turned its appeal around from people being embarrassed to shop there and hiding away the carrier bags, now people are eagerly awaiting the weekly deals. And like Aldi, charity shop fashion no longer has a stigma, people shop with us because they need to, and now more than ever, because they want to?’

The question is why?

“There are so many benefits,” said Michelle. “You can create your own unique style and also slow down fast fashion that at the end of the day goes into landfill, therefore shopping with us also has a huge benefit to the environment. We are collaborating with local businesses, schools and colleges to ‘do our bit’ in saving the environment.

“We are at the heart and soul of our community.Our volunteers are all local people, giving their time freely and we are thrilled to have recently recruited Daniel, a Kickstart Apprentice, as we are keen to help young people take the first step on the employment ladder.”

This year, East Lancashire Hospice Shops are encouraging people to be a ‘Good Cause Santa Clause’ and purchase a specially chosen gift to send to family and friends. This could include a note that explains this gift is also giving to charity AND helping the environment. It can even be wrapped in a scarf to give that extra unique touch.

What could be better? It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Visit one of our shops at:

7 Moor Lane, Clitheroe, BB7 1BE Tel: (01200) 428798

41 Queen Street, Great Harwood, Blackburn, BB6 7QP (01254) 829777

2-6 Bridge Street, Darwen, BB3 2AA (01254) 776911

Daisy’s for East Lancashire Hospice, 781 Whalley New Road, Brownhill, Blackburn, BB1 9BE (01254) 491261

Furniture Store, Unit 2, Brunswick St, Blackburn, BB2 1NR (01254) 680 520

Call or visit the website at www.eastlancshospice.org.uk/shops-and-furniture-warehouse for opening times