One of Market Rasen’s long-standing charity shops is set to close at the end of the year.
The Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Shop has had a presence in the town for a quarter of a century, but now the charity says it is failing to raise sufficient money to make it viable.
Shop manager, Kaye Chambers said: “It is really sad the charity has had to take this decision.
“People are really good supporters of the shop, but it is just not making enough sales.
“We will be trading as normal until December, so we hope people will keep bringing in the donations and getting a bargain in the shop.”
The news of the Queen Street shop’s closure has not been welcomed by the town’s residents, not least by the town’s mayor, who has supported the charity through the Mayor’s Fund.
Coun Matthews said: “As soon as I heard the news, I wrote to Ms Jobling, the CEO of the charity, expressing our disappointment in the decision to close our branch and asked for a review.
“The charity has received over £12,000 from the Market Rasen Town Council Mayor’s Charity fund over the past four years.
“It has been a focal point on the High Street for 25 years and is a bit of a social venue for many of our residents whilst perusing the shops. It has also been supported by a very loyal and generous landlord.
“I am advised that the decision is because of a sharp decline in turnover over the past two years.
“It is true that there is increased competition in the charity market, but I find it ironic that this financial downturn started almost immediately after strategic shop management and staff changes were made - just over two years ago.”
The charity has 11 shops across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, all helping to raise vital funds to keep the ‘copter flying.
Head of Retail, Sally Thomas said: “We constantly review our retail and fundraising activities to ensure they benefit our Charity and help to raise the £2.4million it currently costs to keep our helicopter in the sky and saving lives every day.
“And, as we look forward to flying 24 hours a day it is more important than ever that we make best use of the resources we have.
“Despite our best efforts and a fantastic band of dedicated volunteers, our Market Rasen shop is only just covering costs and not raising the vital funds our charity needs.
“It has been a difficult decision to close the shop and one not taken lightly.
“We have been well supported in Market Rasen and will still be keeping a presence in the town.
“We want to thank everyone who has supported us over the years and hope that they will continue to do so in the future.
“The shop will continue to trade until December and will then look at the option of ‘pop-up shops’, Market Day table top sales and attending local events.
“If anyone would like to support us by offering shop premises rent-free for a short period, we would love to hear from you.”