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A MELKSHAM charity shop has launched an urgent appeal for volunteers after almost a quarter of the team had to temporarily step aside due to the pandemic.
Cats Action Trust North & West Wiltshire generates most of its income from its popular Bath Road store, near the town bridge.
However, many of the older volunteers are choosing to remain at home so the charity is keen to recruit more helping hands before the planned reopening of all non-essential shops on 12th April.
Shop co-ordinator Karine Chevalier-Watts said, “Many of our volunteers were previously advised to self-isolate and understandably remain cautious about venturing out.
“We respect their decision and look forward to welcoming them back whenever they’re ready, but without their support we were only able to open for four days a week last year, instead of the usual six.
“Combined with the series of national lockdowns, this means the Trust is facing a shortfall of thousands of pounds. This is a major challenge for such a small charity, which is why we’re desperately keen to attract new volunteers so that we can boost our fundraising efforts.”
The shop will initially be open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am-3.30pm. Additional days will be added if enough people offer their time. Roles include sorting and pricing the stock, steaming clothes, arranging displays and serving customers. Safety measures include the provision of gloves, masks, visors and hand sanitisers, together with a protective screen at the till and regular cleaning of the premises.
Karine added, “Volunteering is a great way to make new friends and reduce social isolation. It’s also a valuable opportunity to gain skills and confidence which can help in the search for employment, especially in the retail sector.
“With enough support from the local community, we can continue to rescue and rehome abandoned cats and kittens across the area.”
Potential volunteers are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a chat. The shop hopes to reopen with a clearance sale of winter clothes and will be keen to receive donations of spring and summer items. Guidance on preferred donations is available at: www.catsactiontrust. org.uk/shop