Oxfam’s shop in Eign Gate is definitely closing at the end of April, Hereford Greens have been told after lobbying for it to be relocated instead.
Regional Manager Jo Mattinsley told us: ‘It is always a difficult decision to close shops but one we must undertake to ensure we deliver the funds required for Oxfam’s programmes. We must continue to hold ourselves to account when spending Oxfam’s money and the cost of taking on new shop leases and associated costs are significant. We have clear criteria which we apply to every shop when we come to renew a lease and unfortunately in this case, the risk to taking a new lease was too high both on our current location and others situated within Hereford.
I am sorry I can’t deliver a more positive outcome for Hereford Eign Gate but delighted we will continue to trade in the bookshop. There we are also very grateful of attracting a great loyalty base and will be able to transfer our Fair trade offer to.’
We are clearly disappointed, but will of course continue to support the Bookshop and urge others to do so. We would also like to see a more proactive policy of supporting shops to continue in the city centre. Had this closure been more widely known earlier it would have been more likely that something positive could have been done about it.
Hereford is about to lose her popular Oxfam shop in Eign Gate because the landlord is asking for a 10 year lease. Oxfam have decided they cannot commit to this. The excellent Broad Street shop is unaffected.
Writing in the Hereford Times, Maggie Setterfield said: “It seems astonishing that a city the size of Hereford should be without a traditional Oxfam shop. Ours is particularly well-run and welcoming with a warm atmosphere, well supported volunteers and pleasant shopping environment. It offers for sale a wide range of ethically produced and enviromentally responsible foods, toiletries, household items etc of which many are just not available elsewhere in Hereford.”
Maggie emphasised the positive trading link with Marks and Spencer, who collect donated items in store. She added: “Oxfam is more than a shop. A visit can help educate us about what is happening in the wider world, with plenty of opportunities to see what benefits our purchases and donations make to real people’s lives, world-wide.”
Any support for the shop would be gratefully received and could encourage Oxfam bosses to reconsider this difficult decision. If you would like to write to Head Office, the address is Supporter Relations, Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 200 1333.
Hereford Green Party have contacted Oxfam to offer help in locating alternative premises or asking the landlord to reconsider the demand for a 10 year lease, which is difficult for a charity in the current economic climate.
Rob Hattersley from Hereford Greens added: “It would be a tragedy if this popular local shop were left empty. We think this problem is resolvable with goodwill on both sides. The shop provides affordable goods for hard up families as well as raising funds for those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s also an excellent recycling system, saving council tax payers the cost of filling the ground with our cast-offs.”