THE Southern Area Hospice has announced it will close its shops in Rathfriland, Banbridge and Newry in the next few weeks.
Like all high street retail outlets, they have faced significant challenges in recent times, mainly related to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In line with government guidelines the shops were closed for several months since March 2020.
Since reopening, and again like many other shops, trading performance has not returned to sustainable levels and is now further impacted by rising costs.
Liz Cuddy, CEO, stated: “After careful consideration we regret that we have had to make the difficult decision to close the Southern Area Hospice Shops. This is particularly regrettable in relation to the impact on our shop staff and the volunteers who have committed significant time to supporting the shops over the years.
"We know it will also be disappointing to our loyal customers and those who regularly donate goods. Ensuring we continue to deliver high quality patient care in the Hospice Inpatient Unit and our developing community services remains our number one priority.
"We need to maximise the income our supporters raise by focusing our attention and resources on the areas which will generate the most income for the Hospice to enable us to deliver these much-needed services.
"I sincerely hope all those impacted by the closure of the shops will understand the reason why we have had to make this decision and will continue to support the Hospice in other ways as this is crucial to the work we do for patients and their families."
The Hospice continues to provide its services to people with palliative care needs and their families who live in the Southern Trust geographical area.