Our staff and volunteers have been left shocked and upset after thieves targeted our Romford charity shop.

Our store in South Street, Romford, was broken into last Sunday (18 August) during the early hours.

Although takings are banked daily and not kept in the shop, the thieves damaged the hospice’s property during the break in and made away with a small amount of cash.

The shop was forced to close for a day and a half so the premises could be made safe and secure, resulting in a loss of earnings.

Mike Palfreman, Haven House Chief Executive said: “Our shops are an essential part of the hospice’s fundraising operation, enabling us to continue to care for children and young people with life-limiting illnesses when they need us the most.

This incident has shocked our staff and volunteers, who are upset to see their shop targeted in this way. However, it is our children and families who will lose out the most, as the money raised by our shops goes towards paying for their care. We are so saddened by this event.

Haven House provides round the clock care at the hospice, surrounded in beautiful grounds and woodland, in Woodford Green and through outreach services in the home and local community including Havering. The hospice provides; day care, over-night stays, end of life care, bereavement support, as well as life enriching activities such as sensory play, music therapy and physiotherapy.

Disgusted that someone would steal from the most innocent, we have written a letter speaking to the perpetrators.

An open letter to the thieves that stole from us all

We have no idea what would make you target your local children’s hospice in this way - a charity caring for the most vulnerable. We don't know who you are, or what your situation is. We can only imagine that you felt it was your last resort. The money lost is vital for us to continue our work, which is why it is so upsetting that you felt the need to steal it.

No family should have to face alone the difficulties of looking after a child with a serious illness. We are a lifeline for families supporting them through their child’s illness during the toughest of times. We would like you to know that when you damaged and stole from our shop, you not only stole from us and the children and the families that we support, but from the local community too. 

The people who donate their unwanted items to us, entrust us with them. They do so on the basis, they are helping us to raise as much money as possible to care for and help local families. We work so hard every day to make sure that we do that, so it’s a devastating blow.

It’s not just the financial impact of the break-in, it’s the emotional impact as well. Our staff and volunteers are so proud of their shop and work extremely hard. Our kind-hearted volunteers give up their spare time to support the hospice and enable us to run the shop on a daily basis. They have been left shaken and upset. 

We rely on our supporters to help raise 80 per cent of the £4.4 million we need every year to care for children in West Essex and the surrounding boroughs with life-limiting illnesses. We’d like to thank all those people who have taken Haven House into their hearts and continue to support us to make our care possible.