Oxfam CANCEL official opening of new Ely store - but customers, supporters, volunteers and friends still welcome when they open the doors

Volunteer Elona outside new Oxfam store in Ely

Volunteer Elona outside new Oxfam store in Ely - Credit: Archant

Oxfam has cancelled an official opening of its new city centre store in Ely in the light of the continuing crisis over Haiti.

However the new store –in the former Argos premises in High Street – will still open for business on Tuesday but without the pomp and ceremony originally planned.

“I am sure you will have seen the recent headlines concerning a group of people working for Oxfam in Haiti,” said a statement issued by the store management team.

“We have all been shocked and dismayed by their totally unacceptable behaviour which is absolutely contrary to our values.

“ It is with a heavy heart that we have decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for Oxfam to hold a launch event for our new shop at this time, so we have decided to postpone.”

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The statement added: “Sales from our shops remain vital to Oxfam’s fight against poverty across the world, and we hope that the actions of a few won’t jeopardise that mission.

“Thank you for your support, it is so important to us, and we are sorry to cancel at this late stage.”

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The statement was signed by Dorthoy and Liz, the manager and deputy manager of the Ely store.

Oxfam will open the new store on February 23 with a much larger floor space – and all on one level- to the shop they’re leaving behind at No 31.

An Oxfam spokesman said: “It will have an expanded book area at the rear, offering a wide range of good quality fiction and non-fiction books.

“We will have a good selection of entertainment including CDs, DVDs, sheet music and a wide range of vinyl covering almost all the musical genres you can think of.

“There will be the traditional donated items of crockery, glass, ornaments, home ware, toys, games and puzzles”

And there will be an expanded clothing section.

Oxfam says the front of the shop will be a new format for them and is something of a new style for the charity.

“We will be one of only a handful of shops in the country to be selling an increased range of new products,” said the spokesman.

“Oxfam has a long history of selling fairly traded and ethically produced goods from around the world, including greetings cards, coffee, tea and chocolate.” More products ‘sourced by Oxfam’ will be on offer, including rugs, baskets, re-useable coffee cups and sandwich wrap, and range of gifts and items for everyday use in the home.

They plan to continue to rely on volunteers to run the shop and have already recruited new people.

Regular volunteer Enola explained what she enjoys about helping at Oxfam.

“I’ve been helping out several days a week for the last couple of years, whilst looking for a paid job,” she said. “I enjoy working on the till and chatting with customers. No two days are ever the same.

“It’s also good to get to know other volunteers, we always have a laugh.”

The Oxfam spokesman said: “The shop could not exist without our team of kind, talented, versatile and dedicated volunteers, many of whom have been with us for a good number of years.

“With a much larger shop, we need more volunteers, and welcome applications from all interested members of the local community”. They also plan to start selling items online “so if you have an interest in digital photography and can enter information on websites, we’d love to hear from you”.

Please get in touch via oxfamshopf2514@oxfam.org.uk, or ring 01353 667233.

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