Petition launched to save Rasen charity shop

Market Rasen Mayor John Matthews is putting his support behind the volunteers fighting to save the Air Ambulance shop from closure EMN-180817-115942001
Market Rasen Mayor John Matthews is putting his support behind the volunteers fighting to save the Air Ambulance shop from closure EMN-180817-115942001

A petition has been launched to help save a Market Rasen charity shop from closure.

Regular customers instigated the petition after hearing the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance’s Queen Street shop is scheduled to close in December.

The charity has had a presence in the town for more than 25 years, but now it says it is failing to raise sufficient money to make it viable.

Volunteers at the shop say they were ‘shocked and saddened’ when they were told of the plans to shut the shop, and are joining with their customers and supporters to fight the closure.

A spokesman for the volunteers said: “We had no idea this was being considered before we were officially told at a meeting.

“We have been told by the management that we are not taking in enough money to keep the shop open.

“We would like them (the charity) to look again at the figures as we still have a good customer base.

“People are up in arms about the news the shop is to close.

“So many people have come in and said they would be very sad if the shop was to close, and we have also been told that the other charity shops in the town also don’t want us to shut.

“They (the charity) moved the shop into larger premises, and as volunteers we have worked extremely hard.

“We don’t want it to close and hope people will sign the petition to support us.”

The shop has had many locations over the years - starting out in a garage at Middle Rasen - and moved to its present location in 2013.

For more than 20 years, Margaret Lakin-Whitworth was part of the volunteer team, working as a volunteer shop manager until her retirement in Spring last year.

Since then, a paid manager has been employed, who shares her time with the Wragby shop, and volunteers say this is something that could be looked at.

The volunteers’ spokesman said: “We feel we could run the shop ourselves without a paid manager as it was done in the past.

“We have a very supportive landlord, who is keen for us to stay in the building.

“The current lease runs out at the end of this year, so this could be why the decision has been taken now, but we would ask the charity’s trustees to look at all the options.”

One of the shop’s greatest supporters is Market Rasen Mayor John Matthews.

Coun Matthews has chosen the Air Ambulance as one of his charities for the past three years, and contributed £12,000 to funds.

He said: “I am supporting the fight to save this shop both as mayor and as a resident of the town.

“It is important money raised in the town stays in Lincolnshire, and what better charity than this life-saving one?

“The air ambulance helps local people and this shop needs to be open.”

• The petition is available in the ambucopter shop, and in other business premises in the town until the end of this month.