A HOSPICE has begun taking donations of furniture again to stock its much-loved chain of charity shops which have proved time and again to be an Aladdin’s cave for buyers.

The stores, in Darlington and across North Yorkshire, reopened their doors to customers after being forced to close by the COVID pandemic.

The tills have been ringing with a vengeance as customers’ shopping habits have changed under lockdown making them appreciate even more the delights of St T’s unique nature.

Furniture can once again be dropped off at the St T’s warehouse, which is based at the Superstore in McMullen Road, Darlington, or be collected on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9am and 11am. Collections can be arranged by calling (01325) 488701 or by emailing enquiries@darlingtonhospice.org.uk.

Other St T’s shops are still unable to accept donations because of COVID-19 restrictions. The warehouse is open from 11am-3pm, Monday-Friday.

Anyone wanting to drop off items at the warehouse should park at the side roller-shutter doors and ring the bell. Staff will direct people to place boxes and bags on shelving, with donations being securely quarantined until the following day.

St Teresa’s Hospice has also restarted its popular house clearance service with collections helping to restock the charity stores.

Shops in Richmond, Thirsk and High Row, Darlington, have all reopened as well as the Superstore, the shop in Skinnergate, St T’s Interiors Mowden and St T’s Home Shop, Cockerton, all in Darlington.

Full details can be seen at https://www.darlingtonhospice.org.uk/our-shops/.

Head of retail Marjorie McIntyre said: “Customers love our shops, which really are a veritable Aladdin’s cave of opportunity for buyers. I think COVID has resulted in a change of shopping habits and turned back the clock to an era of good quality furniture at reasonable prices.

“Donations and house clearances have turned up some absolute gems over the years including a rare walking stick that realised £6,000 at auction and a set of marbles which sold for more than £2,000.”

The shops are an essential element of St Teresa’s Hospice fundraising efforts bringing in tens of thousands of pounds a year towards the £3m annual running costs to provide day, in-patient and community care, as well as family support and bereavement counselling, in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

Mrs McIntyre said their importance to the hospice had never been greater as the pandemic had seen the cancellation of all the year’s traditional fundraising events.

An emergency appeal, launched to try and make up some of the shortfall, remains operational and donations can still be made at https://justgiving.com/campaign/hugtostts.