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Charity's move from the county could lose jobs
HELEN and Douglas House is moving its warehouse and retail offices out of the county.
The East Oxford-based charity estimates it will save between £150,000 to £200,000 in its first year alone once it closes the warehouse in Colwell Drive, Abingdon, and retail offices above its Wantage shop in Market Place and moves the operation to Aylesbury.
Fifteen employees will be affected and Lesley Gorton, the head of retail, told the Oxford Mail: “We are still in consultation with the staff.
“There will be an opportunity for staff who don’t want to move to be offered voluntary redundancy.
“It is very likely that the majority of our staff will move with us. It is not that far.”
She said they were looking at setting up a car share system in Abingdon and added: “We don’t want to lose staff.
“We have trained these people and they are loyal to us.
“Inevitably I think we will lose a few who can not make the move, but I think it will be minimal.”
Helen House opened in 1982 in Leopold Street as the world’s first children’s hospice with Douglas House in Magdalen Road opening in 2004 specifically for young adults aged 16 to 35.
The charity provides care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and supports their families.
Although the hospices are based in Oxford, the charity has shops not only across the county, but also in Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire.
Ms Gorton said: “It is fair to say it is an Oxfordshire-based charity. But the children come from five counties – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
“Buckinghamshire is pretty central to the operation. It is all very disjointed, it is not all in one place.
“We wanted to trade out of our warehouse and have the administration in one place.
“This opportunity came in Aylesbury and it was one we couldn’t pass on.
“It is more about opportunity, looking for something that we can afford that combines office space, storage space and selling space.”
The e-commerce department in Abingdon will be relocated around November 1, with the rest of the warehouse moving by the beginning of December.
The admin offices will move at the beginning of January and it is hoped the move will be complete by January 6.
Ms Gorton confirmed that none of the hospices or charity shops would be affected by the move.
The new shop and warehouse in Aylesbury will be officially opened on Saturday, October 19.
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