In this month’s interview with a Caterham Valley character, we head to the treasure trove that is the St Catherine’s Hospice charity shop, in Croydon Road, where we meet manager Emma Glass
Tell us a bit about St Catherine’s Hospice…
Our shop here in Caterham is one of 15 across the area supporting St Catherine’s Hospice in Crawley. This is the local hospice serving the people of East Surrey and West Sussex. It’s an important time for the charity at the moment as we are currently fund-raising for a brand-new hospice building. This will cost around £16million and be a larger premises in Pease Pottage. This is vital for us, as it means we will be able to support more local people with better facilities and expert end of life care and support. At the moment, we can only help one in three people in our community who need us, but together with our community’s support, we want to make sure that in the future nobody in our community has to face death and loss alone.
What made you decide to set up in Caterham?
We opened our shop here in 2010 as we wanted to have a face for the hospice in Caterham. It’s a lovely, vibrant town with a strong sense of community. Like the other areas where our hospice provides care, our community nursing team provide care to people across Caterham in the comfort of their own homes. In fact, 8 in 10 people we look after are cared for at home. It’s been a little bit tougher on the High Street recently, as the closure of the Post Office has meant we have had less footfall, but, on the whole, we do very well. We also have many loyal customers who visit us regularly. And we love seeing them!
Is there any advice you would have for other business owners in the town?
Well, based on our own experience, I am happy to say that we always get plenty of compliments on the nice look of our shop. We also do our best to create an enticing, welcoming atmosphere with a good range of stock at suitable prices.
Why should someone visit your business for the first time?
It’s always nice to have something that’s a little bit different –and, in our case, this is our glass cabinet for more unusual and valuable items. For example, as well as our range of gold and silver jewellery, we recently had a beautiful German barometer, which we sold for £80, and some lovely silk Christmas cards from World War One. Also, there’s always something new and interesting to see, as our stock changes every day, and we’re very accessible as we’re right near the train station. By shopping with us, you’re also supporting other people in your community who need end of life care and support. We’re the local hospice for Caterham and rely on your support to be able to give care when it’s needed most. So please come and pay us a visit! We’d also always happily take any good quality donations you have so please bring these to us too.
What would be your top tip for someone visiting Caterham?
I’m always so busy in the shop that I’m afraid I rarely have time to explore the hidden gems of the town! However, I can certainly recommend East Surrey Museum, in Stafford Road, which is full of interesting things, and then there are the two lovely churches at the top of the hill. There’s also the Soper Hall, in Harestone Valley Road, which has a great range of activities and events, and the food festival of course. Then there’s the local produce pop-up market every first Saturday of the month in Church Walk Shopping Centre. There’s always something going on!
Describe your typical lunch break to us…
Sadly, I rarely have enough time to get out for lunch, but if I did, there are plenty of good options. For example, there’s the excellent Caffe Bambino’s, just across the road, as well as the Pop Inn Café. And that’s just the start.
Finally, tell us your favourite thing about the town…
Having grown up in North London, I appreciate the relative peace and quiet of Caterham, but especially the community feel of the town. Most of our customers have been visiting us for years, so we have got to know many of them well, and that’s one of the most enjoyable aspects of what we do.
We also have some wonderful volunteers. At St Catherine’s, we’re lucky to be supported by more than 1,000 volunteers and we couldn’t run our shops or our services without them. If you’re looking for a cause to volunteer for locally in Caterham please come and see us.
- St Catherine’s Hospice charity shop, 31 Croydon Road, Caterham, Surrey CR3 6PA. Click here to find out more about the work of St Catherine’s Hospice.
Meet more Caterham Characters…
- Meet Stuart Johnston from home-improvements business, Shard Solutions
- Meet The Caterham Cobbler, Stilios Photiou
- Meet Said Yazici from Caterham Sweet and Savoury Waffles
- Meet Andrew Browne from JJ Browne & Son jewellery
- Meet Abigail Pedrick from Pedrick’s Zero Waste Shop
- Meet Erika Giucastro, team leader at Clarks Shoes
- Meet Paul Smith, director of Fenchurch Insurance Brokers
- Meet the joint owner of Specsavers, Sundip Patel
- Meet Vitaltone Pharmacy and Vitaleyes Opticians’s Shim Patel
- Meet Bow Butterfly’s Katie Kennedy
- Meet Time Hair & Beauty’s Katherine Casey-Farmer
- Meet Jade Insurance’s Martin Kemp
- Meet Caterham Galleries’ Jodie Green
- Meet Surrey Strength and Performance owner, Daniel Iaciofano
- Meet Helena Fortley bridal boutique’s Sally Brady
- Meet Wingate’s Ben Clarke
- Meet Huntley Cartwright’s Chris Huntley
- Meet Bib & Tucker’s Togs Ali
- Meet The Wedding LookBook’s Ying Shi