Mary Poppins window display helps hospice retail fly to new heights and scoop a win in Hospice UK’s Retail Awards

Apr 11, 2019

A hospice vintage-theme shop that creates eye-catching window displays - such as the 'Mary Poppins window’, with the much-loved fictional nanny flying over the London skyline, umbrella in hand and carrying a large carpet bag with its goods tumbling out - is among the winners of this year’s Hospice UK’s retail conference awards.

St Clare’s Hospice in Essex won the Specialist Retail Award for its Scarlet Vintage & Retro specialist shop in Harlow. The shop is an emporium of gorgeous vintage and retro clothing, accessories, collectables and homeware and celebrates all things kooky and quirky from the 1930s to the pre-00s.

The store’s creative layout and wares has ensured it has become a key fixture and a talking point in the town centre in the five months since it opened last October and has a strong student base among its customers.

It hosts a vintage music section, numerous historical photographs of the local area which help to give the store a retro feel and its till-point hosts a large jar of old-fashioned sweets for customers who have a passion for nostalgic confectionary.

The shop's windows are often inspired by events in the press and latest film releases, creating a story to captivate customers and a memorable shopping experience.

As well as the Mary Poppins window, other displays have included an 'Oscar' themed window where customers were also treated to show-stopping, vintage postcards of legendary starlets.

Other winners in the Hospice UK Retail Conference Awards 2019 included an African head rest which scooped the Most Unusual Item Donated to a Hospice Shop category for Primrose Hospice in Bromsgrove.

Carved from a single piece of wood, it features two bearded heads and a gap in the middle for supporting a person’s neck.

Hospice UK’s retail awards conference - entitled “The Theatre and Drama of Hospice Retail' - took place today at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth in Warwickshire. It focused on how hospice retailers can create theatre and drama to attract and retain custom to their shops.

The conference is an opportunity for hospice retail staff to come together and learn from other sectors. The wide-ranging event covered Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland and how they use their shops to engage the local community, as well as raising funds, a session on supporting the mental health needs of retail staff from MIND and also an update on the current state of textile recycling.

Commenting on the awards, Elizabeth Palfreman, Head of Hospice Support at Hospice UK, said:

“The level of creativity, innovation and dedication by hospice retail staff and volunteers this year in our retail conference awards is impressive.

"Hospice shops have some amazing and very loyal volunteers and their staff are always looking at new ways of engaging customers.”

“Hospice shops raise crucial income for hospices and are also a great way of helping increase public awareness about hospice care.”

Other winners of the retail conference awards were:

  • Hospice Retail Team of the Year- St Andrew’s Hospice Retail Team, Grimsby.
  • Hospice Retail Volunteer of the Year- John “Spud” Woods – Arthur Rank Hospice, Cambridge.
  • Hospice e-commerce Business of the Year- St Oswald’s Hospice, Newcastle.

Notes to editors

  • Hospice retail is the largest player in the charity retail market with more than 2,500 shops across the UK.
  • Hospices derive on average 6% of their income from shop profits, with gross income reported by independent hospice shops as £263m for the year ending March 2017.
  • Highlights from the conference can be found here on Hospice UK’s website Photos are available upon request
  • Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice and palliative care. It works to ensure all adults and children living with a terminal or life-shortening illness receive the care and support they need, when they need it.
  • Hospice UK supports 210 hospices across the UK which care for over 200,000 adults and children every year
  • Get all the latest news from the hospice and palliative care sector, as well as patient stories, on ehospice UK at:

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