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PR: Mammoth news for empty Toys ‘R’ Us store

Local charity St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is to move into the empty Toys ‘R’ Us store on Western Approach.

Plymouth City Council and the charity have just agreed a temporary lease arrangement which will see a pop-up charity shop set up within the store.

As well as stocking furniture, the shop will also be the artists hub for Elmer’s Big Parade Plymouth, before the 40 individually designed Elmers hit the city this Summer.

St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth Commercial Director, Mike Dukes said: “This is a very exciting venture for us and will be our largest shop in Devon and Cornwall.

Our shops provide a vital source of fundraising to enable us to deliver compassionate care to patients and their families when they need us most. We estimate that we will generate enough income to support over 200 patients and their families with a whole package of care at home in the duration of the lease.

But we can’t do it alone, donations of good quality furniture and sofas are urgently needed, we also need volunteers that are so vital to the operation of the shop. We aim to be open on Monday 4 March, but donations are welcome now, just visit the website or give us a call on 01752 964455 for information about our free 7 day a week collection service.”

The Council acquired the long-hold lease on the building last year after Toys ‘R’ Us went into administration and the shop shut its doors.

The Council recently made the store’s 165 car parking spaces available to the public to park in addition to the 880 spaces available in the Council-owned Western Approach multi storey car park.

Councillor Mark Lowry, Cabinet member for Finance and City Centre Champion said: “We have long term plans to regenerate Colin Campbell Court and Millbay, which was why the building presented such a great opportunity for us.

“But regeneration takes time so it’s great to see an empty building brought back into use while we plot and plan the next chapter of the city centre.

“Having the building occupied is better for the fabric of the building, but it also means we can encourage more people down here and helps a great charity to carry on with their work.”

The other section of the building is currently rented by British Heart Foundation. They have been consulted about their new neighbours.