The closure of Larne’s Oxfam shop on Main Street has brought to an end over four decades of the charity’s presence in the town centre.
The organisation, which locals say has had a shop in the town for around 46 years, is being forced to close its local branch due to fundraising difficulties.
Store manager Heather Dunkley, who has worked at the shop for eight years, said she was sad to see the shop close after it was sold at auction.
She told The Times: “What I enjoyed here was the variety of work, you weren’t doing the same thing every day.
“The shop has been well-supported by the public.”
Over the years, Heather says the shop has been “inundated” with donations from local people towards campaigns such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the Sierra Leone ebola outbreak.
Heather continued: “It’s rewarding knowing that the money is going to people who really need it.”
Larne resident Anne Lilley, who has been coming to the shop for over a decade, added: “I think Oxfam is one of the longest-serving charity shops here. “It’s a big loss for Larne but a lot of charity shops are closing down.”
Oxfam’s closure makes it the third Larne charity shop to close its doors this year, after Age Concern and The British Heart Foundation.
Oxfam Ireland’s Head of Retail Michael McIlwaine commented: “Over the years the Larne shop, has supported Oxfam’s work, such as emergency responses and long-term development projects, thanks to the generous support of the wider local community in East Antrim.
“Unfortunately, it has become more difficult to raise these funds in recent times.
“For this reason, we have had to take the difficult decision to close the shop in 8 Main Street, Larne.
“Oxfam is extremely grateful to the people of Larne who have supported us over many years as volunteers, donors and customers.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the staff and volunteers at Oxfam Larne.”