Celebrations as the Friends’ shop returns to St Richard’s Hospital

The new Friends' shop is located in outpatients
The new Friends' shop is located in outpatients

The much-anticipated new Friends’ shop has opened at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.

Staff, patients and volunteers flocked to the new shop as it opened on Monday at the entrance of the outpatients department.

Volunteers worked tirelessly over the weekend to stock the shelves ready for the opening – an informal ribbon-cutting carried out by Rosemary Billinghurst, one of the long-serving Friends of Chichester Hospitals volunteers.

“Everyone is really excited and pleased to be back in business,” said Jane Ramage, Friends chairman.

“The new shop is bright and inviting, and the volunteers are delighted to see so many long-term customers again after the break.

“Our trolley volunteers have done a brilliant job of maintaining the daily service to inpatients during the last few weeks, but we know the shop has been much missed.

“This is a new beginning, and we are confident that the shop has a bright future – the Friends aim to offer a very personal, friendly service to everyone, and the community appreciates that.

“Our volunteers are a really marvellous team. They have a lot of fun helping others, and the reward of knowing that all the money raised goes back to our much-loved hospital.”

The former Friends shop in the main entrance of the hospital closed after 20 years earlier this year to make way for the new Costa and DeliMarche.

The Friends have taken over the site in outpatients vacated by the WRVS, who were forced to close after 40 years at the hospital.

The Friends are delighted to resume their much-valued shop service, which has been missed by regular customers over the last few weeks.

All profits from the charity’s volunteer-staffed service are devoted entirely to funding medical and other equipment for the hospital.

Last year’s profits totalled £80,000, thanks to thousands of hours of unpaid voluntary service.

The Friends’ volunteers received the Chichester Observer’s Award for the Best Local Voluntary Group or Charity 2016. New volunteers are welcome – please email admin@friendsofchichesterhospitals.org.uk or call 01243-831843.

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