Arthur Rank Hospice Charity was delighted to welcome customers back through the doors of its Mill Road charity shop at their grand re-opening, following an extensive refurbishment during January. Having opened in 2010, the shop is one of five Arthur Rank Hospice Charity shops in Cambridge and the surrounding area, raising essential funds for the Hospice.
As one of only a couple of charity shops raising funds for local charities on Mill Road, the store is a hive of activity and has remained an important community hub for the community there, particularly since the Hospice itself moved to Shelford Bottom in November 2016.
The store welcomes hundreds of customers every week who enjoy a friendly welcome from the dedicated staff and volunteer team, whilst browsing for a bargain. Seen by many as an Aladdin’s cave of treasures, the shop stocks an array of good quality women’s and children’s clothes, menswear, select designer clothing, bric-a-brac, books and media.
Eight years after it opened, the Charity’s retail team decided the bustling outlet was due a well-deserved make-over. Having temporarily closed at the start of January for the refurbishment work, the retail team has worked closely with Manchester Shop Fittings to keep its signature quirkiness. The store now has a completely new layout and a signature shabby-chic style.
Shop Manager, Amy Carrithers and her volunteer team (familiar faces to the Mill Road community) have ensured that the good quality and range of stock remain, helping to re-fill the shelves and made everything look beautiful ready for the grand re-opening of their Mill Road home, on Thursday 7 February.
Arthur Bear made an appearance and there was a surprise appearance from ‘Call the Midwife’ celebrity guest, Cliff Parisi who cut the ribbon, posed for photographs and signed autographs!! Cake was provided, thanks to a generous donation from fellow Mill Road residents, the Relevant Record Café.
Head of Retail Joan Smyth explains the difference she feels the refurbishment will make: “Our Mill Road shop has been well-loved ever since it opened eight years ago! It hasn’t had a make-over since, so this work was well-needed. The store has always been more than just a shop; it’s so grounded in the community here – with volunteers who have been with us right from the beginning - and it’s a great example of how to run a sustainable, community-orientated charity shop.
“A huge thank you must go to everyone who has donated their pre-loved goods to us over the years: their support has been significant. Due to its easy accessibility, the numbers of donations to our Mill Road shop have remained extremely high. Good quality stock gifted to the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity here also feeds our Burleigh Street and Regent Street stores. This refurbishment sets us up to cope better with the volume of donations received by the team here every day.
"The shop team are very excited to show off their newly made-over home!”
Jane who volunteers at the shop on Thursdays, adds: “It’s so nicely laid out now and we’ve got room for manoeuvre as well. We’ve got the toy corner and the fitting room in a different place, which is going to make it less congested and much easier for people to get around.”
Regular customer Simon Blyth lives in Hemingford Road, just a few streets away. He said: “I know the shop quite well; I go to the Co-op across the road quite a lot, so I pop in here too. I got a nice pair of jeans here once and quite a lot of different things really. You get things like the odd little single wine glass that is really interesting, rather than great big sets which is quite nice. It’s looking very nice, I like the natural wood. I shall look forward to carrying on shopping here.”
You are welcome to view more photos from the opening on our Facebook album page.