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Newmarket's oldest charity shop Oxfam to close next month after more than three decades in the town

Newmarket’s oldest charity shop is to close next month after more than three decades in the town.

The Oxfam shop, in Wellington Street, opened its doors 35 years ago and, thanks to an army of volunteers, has raised many thousands of pounds to support the charity’s work in providing aid to people living in more than 90 of the poorest countries across the world as well as stepping in when emergencies, both man-made and natural, arise.

Up until about 10 years ago, when the decision was taken for the shop to concentrate on books plus a small range of Oxfam merchandise such as greeting cards and calendars, a variety of used items including clothes, ornaments, household wares, CDs and DVDs/videos were available.

Oxfam shop, Newmarket (29532272)
Oxfam shop, Newmarket (29532272)

Now Oxfam no longer deems the shop viable, leaving 26 volunteers and the part-time manager Barbara without jobs.

“Unfortunately, it seems that less and less people are coming into Newmarket and our footfall has really dropped off,” said Barbara.

“When Marks and Spencer closed it affected us badly and what will happen now they’re putting up parking charges I really don’t know,” she added.

Barbara said many of the volunteers, most of whom were retired people, had put in years of service at the shop.

“They are a fantastic team who’ve given loyal support over the years. In my time here we have never had to close the shop for lack of helpers for a single day and they are all terribly sad that we are closing. I would like to thank them especially for staying on until the shop closes,” she said.

Billy Lewis, Oxfam area manager, said: “We truly regret that the shop in Newmarket is closing. We must constantly evaluate the profitability of all our shops to ensure we are making the most money for Oxfam’s vital work fighting poverty. Sometimes this means we have to close a shop if it isn’t viable, but these decisions are always made with a heavy heart and are never taken lightly.

“We would like to thank the staff and the excellent team of volunteers in Newmarket who have worked so hard in the shop, and pass on our thanks to everyone in the community who has supported Oxfam over many years.”

Oxfam customers who still want to donate and/or buy used books will have another option in addition to the town’s remaining charity shops when Palace House opens a second-hand book shop as part of the forthcoming re-launch of the shop at the racing museum.

No date has been set for the opening but an appeal has gone out for donations of good condition paperback and hardcover books, fact or fiction on any subject to get the new project up and running.

More information is available at reception@nhrm.co.uk or on 01638 667314.