Skip to content
26 April 2024

St Michael's to launch 'biggest charity shop in the Midlands'

Charity says Whitestone will provide vital income stream

Charity says Whitestone will provide vital income stream

Herefordshire’s only Hospice says it believes its newest charity shop will be the biggest in the Midlands.

St Michael’s Hospice says enterprises like its soon-to-open Whitestone retail site will provide vital income streams amid continued funding pressures.

The ambitious project, located just a mile from the charity’s home in Bartestree, comes as its Chief Executive has called on the government to allocate a fairer portion of funding to the Hospice sector.

In the financial year to March 2023, just 15% of the £9.5 million spent by St Michael’s was covered by statutory funding, meaning it relies heavily on the support of fundraisers to make up the substantial shortfall.

“We’re very grateful for the statutory funding we receive, but we do feel the Hospice should receive a fair allocation that also reflects the increasing contribution St Michael’s is making to local services,” said Matt Fellows, who reassured supporters the Hospice is on a sound financial footing, but added ventures like Whitestone are necessary to boost income.

“With these funding pressures, it’s more important than ever for charities like St Michael’s to find new and innovative ways to bring in money. That’s why we’re delighted we’ve found this site at Whitestone, which will provide around 15,000 square-feet of retail space, transforming a former furniture warehouse and showroom into a community-focused space with shop, café, and upcycling centre.”

The first phase of the project, its Donation Centre, opened earlier this Spring and is already proving popular. The whole site will open on Thursday, 23rd May.

“It’s a huge development. We believe it’s the largest charity shop in the Midlands, and one of the biggest in the UK,” added Mr Fellows. “We’re excited by the opportunity, and we’re confident the community will share our enthusiasm.”

St Michael’s provides free-of-charge palliative and end-of-life care, plus support for loved ones. Care is provided in the Inpatient Unit and through Day Services in Bartestree, and in people’s homes through the Herefordshire Hospice at Home service in partnership with Marie Curie.

The Whitestone project is the centrepiece of a celebratory year for the charity which is marking four decades of care to the people of Herefordshire and its borders. Demand on its services, however, has never been greater. In the last year, St Michael’s has cared or supported more people – 2,353 – than in any other year in its history. The vital community funding comes from a variety of sources, including supporters taking part in Hospice events; visiting the charity’s 18 other shops; playing the St Michael’s Hospice Lottery, and leaving gifts in Wills. 

Nationally, the Hospice sector is facing a collective estimated deficit of £77 million in the financial year 2023-24. The issue reached the House of Commons this week, with one MP branding the news “the worst financial results for the hospice sector in around 20 years.

Mr Fellows admits the national picture is concerning, but pointed to the dedication of St Michael’s supporters in ensuring the situation in Herefordshire is much brighter than elsewhere.

“The picture at St Michael’s is a lot more positive, thanks in no small part to our wonderful community of fundraisers and shoppers, who continue to support us, despite feeling the pinch themselves. Without this loyalty and generosity, we simply could not provide the care we deliver each and every day.”

Whitestone will open at 10am on Thursday 23rd May, and will then be open seven days a week, from 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am-4pm each Sunday. 

The site has ample free parking and is located just off the A4103 Hereford to Worcester road, near Withington (HR1 3SE).  

Sign up now to hear about how we care for families across Herefordshire and beyond and how you can help