A PET shop owner gave his lease to a hospice charity with one condition – that he could still run the place.

Sean Woodward, former owner of Pads and Paws in Marston, saw the work Sobell House Hospice in Headington does first-hand.

So, he asked the charity if it would like to have the lease to open a new fundraising outlet in Marston.

He also asked if he could be the manager.

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Sobell House decided to take up Mr Woodward up on his offer, so it took over the lease and put him in charge of the new shop.

The store opened its doors two weeks ago.

And, although the building has been repurposed to become a charity shop, Mr Woodward is still selling some pet shop favourites such as dog food.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Woodward explained that he had a ‘loyal customer base’ so the charity agreed to continue stocking the unusual extras.

James Dyson, head of retail for Sobell House, said: “We are delighted to have opened our Marston Shop.

“We are in uncertain times with Covid-19, but the need for hospice care in Oxfordshire doesn’t stop, and neither can we.

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“By opening new shops in new areas, we are giving more people the opportunity to donate or buy items to support Sobell House.”

Nationwide, charity shops have been suffering from a decline in sales.

Sobell House, however, has not seen a huge decrease.

In August the charity's shop managed to raise the same amount as they did in the previous year.

In July and September, they raised 10 per cent less than the same time last year.

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Mr Dyson added, however: “This is still good. We planned to only raise 60 to 70 per cent of what we did the previous year.

“We are still busy, which is great, and we want to thank everyone for that.

“We opened on June 16 and we reopened all our stores at the same time and we were the only charity shop in Oxford to do that.

“We opened every store we could - we needed the money, we are a charity so we needed people to donate.

Oxford Mail:

“We made sure during lockdown that our stores were safe to reopen.”

The hospice will open another new store in Wantage on Saturday.

Mr Dyson said: “We wanted to open these new stores before Covid, and even after the lockdown we thought it would be the perfect time to expand.

“I think we have had better quality donations because people have sorted out the house, had a declutter.

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“The donations need to ‘quarantine’ for two days, so it is safe, so we put the new donations out two days later.

“We are getting 20 times the volume of donations we were getting previously, so we are also having to get space to them.”

Sobell House has nine shops across Oxfordshire with the income from all these shops going towards funding the care provided by the hospice.

The hospice, jointly funded by the NHS and Sobell House Hospice Charity, has been providing end-of-life and palliative care since 1976.