After clearing out their homes during lockdown, islanders donated eight tonnes of items in just five days to a charitable retailer that provides employment to islanders with disabilities.
Acorn’s 1,600sqm Reuse Centre started accepting donations again on July 2 and reopened its doors on 6 July.
Described as Jersey’s largest social enterprise project, the reuse centre is part of Acorn Enterprises which is run by the Jersey Employment Trust (JET). In its first year of existence, it helped create 50 new jobs and 410 training opportunities to people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.
Last year, the Reuse Centre also helped remove more than 585 tonnes of waste from the incinerator.
While most shops' retail businesses reopened in May, Acorn delayed its opening to both look after its staff - a large proportion of whom have health conditions and disabilities - and keep customers safe.
“We will only open when we are satisfied that we have the correct protocols and PPE in place for everyone who works at Acorn to do so safely,” they explained at the time in a post on their Facebook page.
“Operating a business during the coronavirus pandemic is staff intensive and can be stressful for the staff involved, we are very mindful of this as part of our decision process. “
Pictured: Some of the items recently received by Acorn.
The team also had to develop a process to allow them to leave any donations untouched for 72 hours as an infection control measure.
“This is a complex logistical problem and means we need to order and arrange for additional storage on the site and this will take several weeks to arrange and build,” the team explained.
“We will also need to factor in the additional staff needed to double handle all of the donations.”
Ahead of the reopening, it appeared that islanders were becoming even more excited than the team themselves, with a meme by satirical group 'Not the Jersey Police' getting more than 250 likes and dozens of shares.
Acorn said the first days of opening had been “brilliant”, with eight tonnes of items being received in the first five days.
So great has the demand been that the team received 115 telephone messages in one day.
Some islanders have even been queuing up to browse the selection on offer.
To keep everyone safe, the team installed a new entrance, with staff members helping direct customers in the car park and monitoring numbers in the shop.
“We are absolutely delighted to have re-opened this week and our customers have been amazing adjusting to the new processes we’ve put in place to keep everyone safe,” the Acorn team said.
Pictured: "Our customers have been amazing adjusting to the new processes we’ve put in place to keep everyone safe,” the team at Acorn said.
“We’ve missed everyone so much over the last few months, its lovely to see people leaving our shop with big smiles on their faces and their Acorn ‘treasures’!
“A huge Acorn thank you to all of our staff, customers and supporters during this difficult time.”
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