Grand opening of Arthur Rank Hospice’s new charity shop on Burleigh Street, Cambridge

Emmerdale’s John Middleton officially opened Arthur Rank Hospice Charity’s new Burleigh Street charity shop on Wednesday 28 February. The actor cut the green ribbon on Wednesday morning at 10.30am, as staff, volunteers, shoppers and Arthur Bear celebrated the occasion with prosecco and cake.  Excited customers had to be turned away from the new Burleigh Street store every day before the opening, proving that it will be a popular addition to the Hospice’s charity shop line up. 

Mr Middleton, who is appearing in ‘Strangers On A Train’ at Cambridge Arts Theatre this week (26 February - 3 March) delivered an acclaimed performance as Ashley Thomas in Emmerdale last year, when the character and his family were thrust into coping with the heart-breaking affects of early onset dementia.  Arthur Rank Hospice provides cares and support to individuals and their families who are living with a life-limiting illness or condition which may include dementia, as well as lung disease, multiple sclerosis, heart failure, certain forms of cancer, motor neurone disease and other conditions.

Thanks to both the skills of its staff and volunteers (many of whom are ‘Dementia Friends’ having received special training from Alzheimers Society) and its purpose-built facilities (for example an Inpatient Unit with access to walled gardens) Arthur Rank Hospice for adults is well equipped to care for those affected by dementia, whether secondary to their diagnosis or the primary cause. 

The Charity needs to secure £7.45 million every year, to provide its services free of charge to patients and their loved ones: a challenge it is only capable of meeting thanks to the support and generosity of the local community.  This network of dedicated supporters - fondly referred to as Team Arthur – has gathered new momentum each time a new Arthur Rank Hospice charity shop has opened.

Income generated by customers’ donations and shopping, goes directly towards the Hospice’s care and support.  Retail Manager, Eileen Hughes explains the special relationship: “Whilst each of our shops has its own character - Burleigh Street for example will be featuring retro décor and a vintage clothing section as well as local artists like Naomi Davies greetings cards and Bex Burston’s glassware – we have found that the biggest draw for our customers is the way in which each store becomes part of that area’s community. They are vibrant and happy places thanks to our wonderful staff and local volunteers: when you walk in you get a sense of the warm welcome which comes from simply being part of the Arthur Rank Hospice family.“

The Burleigh Street store, complete with atmospheric background music and stylish furnishings (thanks to donations from Arthur Sheppard and The Cambridge Toy Shop) will be open 7 days a week; Monday – Saturday between 9am and 5pm and Sunday 11am – 5pm. Those wishing to donate quality or vintage items and clothing to the Hospice to sell, are welcome to park in Paradise Street to drop off.  Bowes and Co – who have always resided within the entrance of the retail unit – remain on site.

If you would like to join the fabulous team of volunteers who assist in running the shop - including students, local mums and individuals looking to build skills for their CV - please call into the store and speak to managers Kristen or Loretta, or contact Hannah Touhey from Arthur Rank Hospice’s Voluntary Services team on / 01223 675872.

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