The Save the Children charity shop in Aberdeen will close in November after 30 years in the heart of the Granite City.
The volunteer-led charity shop, based in Union Street, is the only presence that Save the Children has in the north-east.
It has not been open since March last year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and scaffolding outside the unit has blocked the window and affected sales for the past two years.
The unit’s landlord wanted a 10-year lease, however, the charity decided not to extend their contract.
Volunteer Leela Gautam admitted that it has not been doing well financially but said it was a huge blow to see the shop go.
She said: “I know that it didn’t make a lot of money over a five-year period, so I can understand why Save the Children may be interested in the shop closing.
“But, we’re not going to have a presence in Aberdeen and that would be a shame. Even in the north-east we don’t have any other shop.”
Volunteers fight to keep shop open
Volunteers are upset with the decision to close the store and are appealing to the landlord and management at Save the Children to extend their lease for another year in the hope that other arrangements can be made.
Mrs Gautam said: “We’ve got a lot of stock and we could clear a lot of it if they gave us another year gratis or at a lower rent. I think moving the stock to any other shop down south would cost a lot of money to transport.
“If we did it here, the local public would benefit from it as well and we could keep the shop open. It means we would need to have a bit of a revamp to have the Covid conditions met.”
She added: “We the volunteers are really upset about it, and I’m sure the public will be effected by it because so many shops are closed.”
Struggling retail sector
The closure of the shop will result in another empty retail space in Aberdeen city centre.
Research carried out by Aberdeen Journals found that Union Street alone has a total of 35 vacant units, with dozens of empty shops elsewhere.
A spokeswoman for Save the Children said: “As charity retailers we are constantly reviewing our shop portfolio to ensure we drive the highest possible contribution for Save the Children.
“Our priority is to maximise fundraising to make a real difference to children’s lives.
“It’s no secret that the retail sector is facing significant change but we are passionate about our high street and believe the trend in shopping local is here to stay.”
She explained that the charity has to make a difficult decision before renewing a shop lease because they are long-term financial commitments for the organisation.
She added: “It is always extremely difficult to make the decision to close a shop, particularly as we recognise the enormous contribution our wonderful volunteers in Aberdeen have made to Save the Children.
“The team have shown enormous passion and commitment to our cause and we would like share a huge thank you for all that they have achieved.”