A BAND of dedicated volunteers have been left shell shocked by the news that the WRVS has lost the contract to run its shop at Solihull Hospital.
It was recently announced the charity - formerly known as the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service - would be replaced by WHSmith.
The Solihull News understands the volunteers will leave the outlet next Tuesday (September 22).
Health bosses have confirmed the staff will now join the trust’s own volunteer services.
One woman, who has volunteered for 12 years, but did not want to be named, said that people had been “gobsmacked” by the announcement.
“It’s a shame because people are coming in and saying ‘I can’t believe your shop is not going to be here anymore’. You build up quite a friendship with staff and patients.”
Patient advisor, Roy Banks, who was recovering from a stroke at the hospital, said he was saddened by the news.
“After years of dedicated service the WRVS has been told its contract will not be renewed. I understand that the League of Friends won’t be able to do their round anymore.
“These people have come along for many years to help us patients. The volunteers are shocked - it’s happened so quickly.”
A spokesman for WHSmith said: “As a leading national retailer we continually look for further opportunities, however at this stage we have nothing to announce.”
Lisa Dunn, hospital director, said: “Following feedback from visitors, patients and staff, it became clear that there was a need for a wider range of retail goods and services to be made available at Solihull hospital.
“There was also a request for extended opening hours. From next month, a WHSmith store will be opening at the Hospital, replacing the WRVS shop.
“A cashpoint facility will also be made available on the site.
“We are very grateful to the volunteers and staff at WRVS and we are delighted that all of the volunteers involved in the running of the WRVS store have stayed with the hospital, joining the trust’s volunteers service.”
The WRVS celebrated its 70th anniversary last year and originally helped civilians during the Second World War. Today it works in communities up and down the country.
* Are you a volunteer or patient? What memories do you have of the WRVS shop and will you miss it once it’s gone? Email email@example.com or write in to 150 High Street, Solihull, B91 3SX.