Lack of income forces Harrogate charity shop to shut

NADV 1412221AM1 Relate shop.Shop manager Domonic Faber and assistant manager Bridget Asquith.(1412221AM1)
NADV 1412221AM1 Relate shop.Shop manager Domonic Faber and assistant manager Bridget Asquith.(1412221AM1)

A Harrogate counselling service will be forced to close the doors of its charity shop in March due to a lack of income.

The Relate Mid Yorkshire charity shop was opened in 2012 in an attempt to raise more funding for the free counselling services they offer to their clients.

However, the Trustees of Relate have decided not to renew the lease on the shop when it expires in March as it has not had the financial impact they were hoping for.

Kathryn Ashworth, Chief Executive of Relate, said that the charity shop had received good feedback during its time but problems with a lack of stock, volunteers and income contributed to its closure.

She said: “Despite a lot of hard work from a lot of people, the income only just matches the expenditure, so sadly the shop will close.

“Particular thanks must go to all the staff and volunteers there for putting their heart and soul into making the shop a fantastic place to go shopping, and making it such a welcoming place for people to browse.

“We have been very proud of our shop, and hopefully the people who have shopped there know more about the services Relate provides locally for children and families.”

Ms Ashworth said that she was ‘grateful’ for the support the shop has received since it opened but said Relate needed similar support as they ‘try other ways’ to raise money for their services.

Coun Don Mackenzie, executive member for public health, said he was saddened to hear of the charity shop’s closure and explained how these charitable and voluntary organisations provide an ‘essential service to our community’.

He said: “As local authorities like North Yorkshire County Council restructure the ways in which they serve their residents as their funding reduces, so the services of the voluntary sector become more important.

“The county values its partnerships with the voluntary sector and organisations like Relate need to continue to be able to provide its support of both adults and children.”

Relate were previously a marriage counselling service but have since vastly extended their services to deal with individual’s issues.

The charity’s services include relationship counselling for individuals and couples but also offers family counselling as well as for children and young people.

Relate do not charge for their counselling services rather relying on donations from their clients, however Ms Ashworth revealed that, due to their financial situation, they may have to change their approach.

She said: “We have lost money for the past two years and when we have not, we have been breaking even so we may have to look at downsizing just to make ends meet.”