VOLUNTEERS are urgently being sought to safeguard the future of a popular town centre bookshop.

The outlet on Battle Hill in Hexham is one of several in the district which raises vital funds for Tynedale Hospice At Home.

The charity, which provides end of life nursing care and transport services for people with life-limiting illness, is reopening its charity shops in Hexham, Prudhoe, and Ponteland.

But many of the 140 retail volunteers who usually work at the shops are older, and in line with government advice on Covid-19 protection, are unable to return to their roles at present.

As a result, there has been a significant drop in the number of volunteers at the Hexham book shop, which has cast a doubt on when it can reopen.

Mike Thornicroft, chief executive officer at Tynedale Hospice At Home, said “We are making every effort to safely open our shops. We have been careful about how we have planned the phased reopening of our charity shops to ensure they are Covid-19 secure but the biggest issue we face, particularly for our Hexham bookshop, is finding the number of volunteers required to open.”

The hospice is now appealing to school leavers, university students, or anyone who might have spare time to support a local cause, to step forward.

Mr Thornicroft added: “This is a great opportunity for younger people in our community to gain some hands on experience in a retail setting, meet new people and support a local charity that provides care to families in our community.”

Anyone interested is asked to complete a volunteer application form online at https://tynedalehospice.com/get-involved/apply-to-be-a-volunteer/