Bookish Family Atmosphere Over Two Floors at Bromyard Hospice Shop

The unique floor layout of the St Michael’s Hospice Shop in Bromyard over two floors has given shop volunteers the chance to extend their inclusive family atmosphere into a welcoming Book Room and a quiet men’s clothing area.

Shop Manager Anita Coleman has been volunteering at the shop for almost seven years, and has been a manager for three of them. She grew up in Bromyard but moved away to give her son the chance to become a chorister at Worcester Cathedral. Anita returned to Bromyard in 2008, and she’s been putting her house-proud stamp on the Bromyard Hospice Shop ever since.

‘I’m only scheduled to work three days a week, but I often come in specially on a Sunday so I can wash the windows. I like cleaning and polishing in my own home, so naturally I bring that into work with me. I once had a woman come into the Shop who honestly thought that it wasn’t a charity shop: I was really delighted with that.

‘I really enjoy the Bromyardian clientele as I know most of them. Meeting people here is brilliant: I love that part of working here. We sell quite a lot of ladies clothing and bric-a-brac, but our Book Room really does attract avid readers of all ages.’

The two rooms at the top of the staircase have become very popular over the years. The Book Room (briefly the Bridal Room last year after St Michael’s received a huge donation of bridal gowns) has cosy seats and books arranged both on bookshelves and on tables, and it is this area that attracted volunteer Andrew Barden over two and a half years ago.

‘I help with the books and keep things stocked and presentable upstairs. At only 50p per paperback we get a great deal of turnover, and that helps keep things fresh. We also receive regular donations of good quality books to resupply the shelves.’

Andrew comes in twice a week and enjoys the company: ‘It’s a nice atmosphere, with a great group of people to work with. It’s like a family in a way. And it’s a very good cause to work for.’

Stacy Phillips is a new volunteer and helps out once a week. After her sons went into secondary school, she felt she could commit to volunteering in the afternoons. ‘I think [the volunteers] are fantastic people. I’ve really enjoyed helping with the books, as I’m a big reader. I like how there is so much room to space things out here.’

Anita agrees: ‘We’ve found that moving the men’s clothing up to their own space upstairs has really increased sales. Men prefer to shop without being overlooked, they seem to appreciate the privacy.’

Foster carer Vicki Edwards has been volunteering at the Bromyard Hospice Shop for four years now. ‘It gets me out of the house, and to be honest it like a little escape and keeps me sane.

‘I’ve always loved helping with the books, but I also handle the paperwork and the Shop’s Facebook page. I work here twice a week: it’s nice to work here because everybody gets on. I know how important the Bromyard Support Group has been to keeping the Hospice Shop open for the Wednesday morning shift, and they all get on well, too.’


photo (l-r): Andrew Barden, Anita Coleman (seated) and Vicki Edwards