NEWPORT-based St David's Hospice Care is urging people to support its shops now that they have reopened.

The 37 shops are a lifeblood for the hospice which has been starved of their income during the past three months after they were forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

When open, they help raise £1m per year towards the £8.5m needed for the hospice to run.

St David's Hospice Care chief executive Emma Saysell said: "It's a great relief that the shops can now reopen. What we need now is for people throughout our community to demonstrate the wonderful support that they have shown the hospice shops over the past very many years and get shopping.

"Our shops, which are spread throughout south east Wales and Powys, are packed full of the usual range of high quality goods and are a vital source of income for the hospice.

"We would urge people to bring their donations to their local shop or to our central depot at Ty Coch Way, Cwmbran which is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday."

Campaign Series:

Emma Hacker, of the St David's Hospice Care shop in Caerleon

Mrs Saysell said the hospice is fully aware of the need for safe distancing at all the shops and the other measures required to ensure the safety of staff and shoppers.

The hospice says the feedback from customers now that the shops regarded as "much loved and cherished places" is encouraging.

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Mrs Saysell said they had been overwhelmed with the level of support they have received after issuing a desperate plea for help at the onset of the lockdown when it faced the biggest challenge in its 40-year history.

The hospice needs £8.5m a year to run its range of services including its inpatient hospice and day hospices.

St David's, which has to fund 70 per cent of its clinical services through its events, which it has had to cancel, and its shops, until now closed, is handling a massive spike in Covid-19 pandemic referrals.

Campaign Series:

Michelle Carter, of the hospice shop in High Street, Chepstow

The hospice's shops usually generate in excess of £1m a year. Fund raising events planned, which generate £2.5m a year, have been cancelled due to the pandemic.

The palliative and end of life care hospice normally cares for some 1,200 patients on a daily basis. This number has expanded considerably over recent weeks due directly to the Covid-19 pandemic gripping the community.

To donate to the hospice appeal visit: www.justgiving.com/campaign/stdavidscovid19

For a list of St David's Hospice care shops visit: www.stdavidshospicecare.org

For information on how to donate materials to shops please call 0I633 8678138. The address of the depot in Torfaen is Unit 1, Block 1, Withey Court, Ty Coch Way, Cwmbran, NP44 7EZ

* If you run a business which is now re-open and you want to let everyone know go to: www.southwalesargus.co.uk/my/ccn/questionnaire/AicvMGw2/. We want to help you shout about it.