A MUCH loved hospice is boosting its retail presence with the opening of one of the region’s first ever charity superstores.

St Teresa’s Hospice, which provides care for people in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire, has adapted a former training unit to increase its fundraising ability.

Recognised nationally for its skills in palliative and end of life care, St Teresa’s Hospice needs more than £2m a year to continue its work.

It offers in-patient, outreach and community care across the region and operates St T’s charity shops in Darlington, Thirsk, Richmond, Leyburn, Northallerton, Barnard Castle and Shildon.

The St T’s Superstore will open its doors on Saturday (May 6) in McMullen Road, Darlington, offering thousands of square feet of retail space, warehousing, a distribution centre, an eBay department, as well as facilities to sort, renovate and restore a host of donated goods.

For the first time the store will deal in ‘graded new appliances’, slightly damaged and unused returns in white goods, ranging from dishwashers and fridges to freezers and washing machines, which come with a six-month guarantee.

The superstore is ideally placed in a part of Darlington attracting a variety of commercial operations, from car dealerships to TK Maxx, close to the A66 bypass and boasting a healthy passing trade.

It is also blessed with car parking for shoppers and people wanting to drop off donations and will be the centre for the charity’s house clearance operations.

Darlington’s mayor Brian Jones will perform the official opening ceremony at 10am accompanied by the Woodside String Trio.

Visitors will be able to view the facility, shop for bargains and stand to win a prize in a special opening day competition.  

The store will be open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm and Sunday, 10am to 4pm, but will be manned outside these hours to accept donations.

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “This is an incredibly exciting venture for our hospice which will provide us with countless opportunities.

“The retail area will offer a peerless shopping facility while our highly skilled volunteers will benefit from extra space to continue their furniture restoration work. Our successful house clearance department will also be based there and will be able to develop further its operations.”

St T’s retail manager Marjorie McIntyre added: “Convenience will be a key element to the success of the superstore. It is close to the town’s inner relief road and outer bypass so is easy to access, with ample parking, which will help visitors wanting to shop or drop off donations.

“A rich variety of stock already ranges from a baby grand piano to sofas, lamps, furniture and white goods, so there will be something for everyone all being sold in the knowledge that the proceeds go to a very good cause.”

The hospice is also looking for extra volunteers to help in sales and the distribution departments. Anyone interested should contact the superstore on (01325) 488701 or St Teresa’s Hospice on (01325) 254321.