A Herefordshire hospice says its newly approved second-hand furniture centre will ensure it can keep meeting the surging demand for its services.

St Michael’s Hospice, based at Frome Park, Bartestree east of Hereford, had sought permission for a new warehouse, sorting centre and showroom for its donated goods in a former furniture factory and outlet at nearby Whitestone Business Park.

A letter with the charity’s planning application from its director of income generation Rachel Jones said: “Without taking [this] opportunity, our services, which are provided free of charge to terminally ill patients, will be at risk.”


The ground floor of the Whitestone building will now be used for receiving and warehousing donations, while the first floor will serve as a showroom chiefly for second-hand and upcycled furniture, as well as providing extra office, meeting and training space.

This will create “ten to 12” new paid roles along with around 50 volunteer positions, Ms Jones said.

The charity’s chief executive Mike Keel said that the site offered “a unique opportunity that is very unlikely to come round again in the near future”.


The number of patients it cares for more than doubled over the past six financial years, and referrals to it this year are already 19 per cent up on last year, he added.

The hospice gets four-fifths of its income from charitable donations and from its 17 hospice shops. It already employs around 250 staff.

Recommending approval, Herefordshire Council planning officer Emily Brookes said the proposal “would likely lead to enhancement of the appearance, vitality and viability of the building”.

Permission was granted with limitations on the hours of operation of the showroom and on deliveries.

The former I & J L Brown furniture and antiques business in the building closed earlier this year following the retirement of Mr and Mrs Brown, who ran it for 50 years.

St Michael's Hospice aims to have the revamped building in full operation by next April but has said it may run a “pop-up shop” in the run-up to Christmas.

Its Home and Living Store on Holmer Road, Hereford is closing at the end of this year due to termination of the lease.

Meanwhile it is still negotiating a deal to take on the former Iceland store in Eign Gate, Hereford. It already has a Pound Shop on the same street, which it would keep.