Charity set to shut up shops after 10 years

Village in Partnership charity shop in Longton
Village in Partnership charity shop in Longton
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A charity which has served the people of Lancashire for 10 years is set to close.

Staff at Village in Partnership (VIP), which has stores in Eccleston, Longton and Burscough, were told earlier this week it would be shutting up shop.

The news could potentially affect 60 staff and volunteers, although only some have been officially told when they will be leaving.

Staff said the stores would all be closing as the lease for the stores ran out, which they believed, meant the Longton store would go first.

The exact reason for the closure is unknown, but a number of staff described themselves as “disgruntled”.

One said: “There’s definitely some ill-feeling among some of the staff towards the trustees.

“I think we’ve raised a few issues which haven’t been looked into properly.

“It’s really sad we’re going to be closing and not just for the staff. A lot of people come for the social side and that’s definitely going to be missed.”

The charity provides a range of services including delivery of community-focused projects, giving support and advice and assisting with completion of funding application forms.

It also offers grants of up to £500 to local groups or organisations. Examples given on the VIP website include the replacement of damaged sheet music for a brass band, the replacement of kitchen equipment, the purchase of outdoor sports jackets for a young football team and arts and craft materials for a brownie group.

Another member of staff said: “We’ve helped a lot of groups over the years and it’s going to be sad not to be able to keep doing that.

“I’ve not been told when I will be leaving officially but I know others have. We’ve been told the charity is closing and we think the Longton shop is first.

“We think stores close when the lease is up and that should start happening at the end of the month.

“It’s a sad day for a lot of us because we’ve enjoyed working here and I know a lot of us will miss the work and the people they meet.”