Rasen councillors fuming over charity chief’s letter

Market Rasen's Air Ambulance shop which will be closing in December EMN-180308-145833001
Market Rasen's Air Ambulance shop which will be closing in December EMN-180308-145833001

Furious Market Rasen councillors have demanded an urgent meeting with the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance chief executive to challenge her decision to close the town’s charity shop.

The charity’s CEO Karen Jobling wrote to the town council outlining how the Market Rasen shop is to close in December because it is not making enough money.

Market Rasen's Air Ambulance shop which will be closing in December EMN-180308-145833001

Market Rasen's Air Ambulance shop which will be closing in December EMN-180308-145833001

But, town councillors at the authority’s September meeting were left fuming at the letter, saying the arguments ‘don’t make sense’.

Coun Margaret Lakin-Whitworth - who volunteered in the shop for 25 years before retiring 18 months ago - told the meeting: “I disagree with everything in that letter.

“They’ve treated it as a retail shop, which is wrong.

“We always made a profit.

“The last year I was there we made 68k [before overheads].

“We always sent stuff from my shop to others.

“Their argument doesn’t quite make sense there.

“It’s not a retail shop, it’s a charity shop.”

Ms Jobling’s letter to the council outlined how the shop in Market Rasen had been declining as with other retail outlets in the town.

She said there had been a fall in trade and donated goods and that the shop had to rely on goods donated from other areas, which was costly.

Her letter stated: “The financial aspects of the shops have been reviewed in great depth… a number of measures tried, but without success.”

Deputy Mayor Steve Bunney said: “I don’t think that’s a fair reflection of what’s going on. We need a meeting with this lady as soon as possible.

“[We can] bring her to the council finance committee or main council to ensure she comes.”

Coun Bunney said he wanted to challenge the points in letter.

And he added that the only figure quoted in the letter was the annual £2.5 million needed to keep the helicopter in the sky.

All councillors voted in favour of inviting Ms Jobling to a council meeting.

Read Ms Jobling’s statement released to the Rasen Mail https://www.marketrasenmail.co.uk/news/charity-ceo-speaks-on-closure-of-rasen-s-lincs-notts-air-ambulance-shop-1-8629480