The manager of a charity shop in Diss has set up a petition to save the store after learning its head office has plans to close it down.
Paula Reeder has been working at the East Coast Hospice since last September and was recently promoted to manager.
She said: “Sadly, on Friday management came down and said because the shop hadn’t been taking so much – mostly because of the roadworks – that the shop would close in January.
“I’ve put so much into this shop and enjoyed it so much – I’m not going to let it go quietly.
“I’ve set up the petition and I’m trying to see if there is any way we can possibly get moved into the town.”
The East Coast Hospice shop on Market Hill opened in 2014.
Ms Reeder said: “I think the hill has a lot to do with it. It is quite steep and our access isn’t great, and I do believe if we were in the town we would be busier.”
The manager believes that disruption caused by the recent roadworks in the Heritage Triangle have hit the shop’s peformance.
“The roadworks have made the shop really, really quiet from April, and it’s only now started to pick up,” she said.
“People weren’t able to stop to bring donations. Our delivery guy had trouble and it’s just been chaos. The noise, the mess – it’s just put people off.”
“We are a friendly bunch here in the shop and we had always been fine until the roadworks. I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was. It was like a maze for people to get to the shop.”
A spokesperson for Diss Town Council said: “We are sorry to hear that East Coast Hospice plans to close.
“Businesses that have been affected have been aware of the planned scheme for two or three years before it started.”
The spokesperson said the new road surface should see an increase in footfall. However, businesses may have to wait a few months before this happens. He added: “The scheme has not been completed yet. Our aim is to create a destination that will attract people and help support local and independent businesses.”
Ms Reeder says that she has seen a boost in business since the conclusion of the roadworks, but it hasn’t solved the Hospice’s predicament.
“I think the shop has gone downhill ever since the roadworks started in April and that’s a reason for why our profits have gone down – but, now it’s all finished it is starting to get busier but head office has still decided to close us down.
“If they could just give me six months to a year in the town to prove that I can turn it round and pick it up again, then I will.”
East Coast Hospice have chosen not to comment at this time.
Ms Reeder and other volunteers have set up the petition both instore and online and wish to present it to head office.
Ms Reeder said she would ideally want the shop to be moved away from the hill and into the town.
“It’s this hill – I get out of breath going to the bank and back. It’s worse for people with pushchairs and disabled people. If we are moved into the town, we will be busier and we can keep the shop open.
“I just want that chance to show them that the town is where we need to be.
“I don’t know if it will make a difference, but I want them to see that I don’t just want the shop to close and I want them to give us another chance.”
Petition and details are online at secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_public_or_anyone_who_can_help_save_the_shop_from_closure_Save_our_shop .