A Midlands organisation set up to help key workers during the Covid pandemic is opening a new pop-up shop in Solihull to boost funds and celebrate its first birthday.
The Hampers for Heroes shop opens at Touchwood shopping centre on 12 April – when retail in England is allowed to restart.
The shop, in Poplar Arcade, will offer a range of branded merchandise, such as water bottles, tote bags, wellbeing items and gifts, like sunflower pots for children.
It will also include a wellbeing hub where people can drop in to discuss therapies such as mindfulness, meditation and counselling, which are also on offer.
Hampers for Heroes founder Victoria Hanson, from Solihull, said: “We are so excited to be opening this new shop.
“This provides an opportunity for our whole community to say a huge thank you to the NHS, carers, teachers and key workers, to acknowledge the sacrifice they have made for us all over the last year.
“We plan to be here for the long term, providing a way to send love and gratitude from our community to our community. A way to bring us together when there is often so much to divide us.”
Hampers for Heroes started at the beginning of the first lockdown with volunteers delivering wellbeing hampers to NHS staff and other key workers to offer them a boost as they battled to cope during the pandemic.
It has now reached more than 40,000 key workers and has expanded to offer services like counselling, mindfulness and meditation to help with mental health.
Ali Swift, a wellness coach and holistic therapist, has joined the organisation as Director of Wellbeing.
Ali said: "Hampers for Heroes is now on a mission to provide our NHS, teachers and community key workers with support in the recovery phase of the pandemic.
"We recognise that for many the mental health toll has been significant and that all can benefit from help to boost their wellbeing. We will provide conventional, holistic and alternative therapies that can help the individuals support their own mental health now and in the future.
“These services will be heavily subsidised, making it affordable and aligned to their income."
Tony Elvin, general manager of Touchwood, said: "We are absolutely delighted to welcome Hampers for Heroes to Touchwood for their Poplar Arcade pop-up store.
"Throughout lockdown Hampers for Heroes have done a tremendous job in supporting those that have given so much to us. We are grateful to be able to play some small part in their ongoing work."
Victoria thanked organisations including the Lyndon Pub in Solihull, the Silhillians Rugby Club and the Sassy Logistics Company, who have all sponsored merchandise.
Hampers for Heroes celebrates its first birthday on 18 April. To find out more about the organisation and to donate, visit hampersforheroes.net