Southwark MP sees first-hand how Sense charity shop has adapted during pandemic

Charity shops need support from customers to enable their beneficiaries to keep getting vital help, an MP has said.

The MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Neil Coyle, visited a shop run by national disability charity Sense to see first-hand how the charity has adapted to social distancing measures since lockdown.

Sense shops raise money to support people with complex disabilities, including deafblindness, to communicate and experience the world.

Mr Coyle made a socially distanced visit to Sense’s Walworth shop, in Walworth Road, on Monday, where he was given a tour of the store and met with staff and volunteers.

He heard how the charity has adapted its shops following lockdown with strict new measures to protect the health and safety of staff, volunteers and customers.

Mr Coyle learned about Sense’s new Forgotten Families campaign, which highlights the lack of support disabled adults and their families have experienced throughout the pandemic.

Mr Coyle said: “The shop is run by a wonderful team who have brilliantly adapted to the many challenges brought on by Covid-19.

“They’ve had to make many changes to ensure volunteers and customers can browse safely and have seen some donations rise as people had a clear out during lockdown.

“On this recent visit, it was great to learn about Sense’s new Forgotten Families campaign – the campaign shines a light on how difficult it has been for many disabled adults and their families during the pandemic. Many services and support centres that they need have been closed, sadly.

“Sense shops play a very important role in raising money for disabled people with some complex conditions. I used to work for a disability charity so I understand how vital it is that disabled people get the support they need, even during crises.”

Adrian Darkin, director of trading at Sense, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mr Coyle to our Sense shop in Walworth to see how Sense has adapted our stores post-lockdown.

“Sense shops are important hubs for communities, helping to boost volunteering and tackle loneliness, and play an important role in safely bringing people together.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who continues to support our shops, with money raised by donated stock helping us to support some of the most vulnerable people in society who need us more than ever.

“Charity shops are an important and valuable part of the High Street, being sustainable and environmentally friendly, and should be encouraged, supported and welcomed. We appreciate Mr Coyle’s support for our sector and look forward to working with him in the future.”

To volunteer at the shop, or donate, call 020 7708 3333 or pop by at 329 Walworth Road, Walworth.

For more information about Sense shops click here.

Pictured top: From left, shop manager Carolyn Gee, Neil Coyle MP and Mother Delorine, from Saint Peter’s church.

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