26 February 2016

Retail Academy to benefit Rennie Grove

Dr Rebecca Chandler-Wilde and Dr Lesley Bridges of Bucks New University with Martin Thornton of The Clare FoundationRennie Grove’s shop managers are set to benefit from an exciting new learning opportunity.  Thanks to funding from Health Education Thames Valley, retail staff at the charity will undertake a six-month course developed by Buckinghamshire New University, The Clare Foundation and John Lewis, High Wycombe.

Dubbed the ‘Retail Academy’, the six modules will be delivered by lecturers from Bucks New University and senior staff members from Rennie Grove at The Clare Foundation, Saunderton, from January until June.  Delegates will also benefit from a day-long training workshop at John Lewis' store in High Wycombe.  The course has been designed specifically for the voluntary sector and is aimed at ensuring that shops belonging to the two charities are as effective as possible, focusing on aspects such as leadership skills, managing volunteers and visual merchandising.

Rennie Grove Hospice Care welcomes the comprehensive training package for all their shop managers and assistant managers across their 24 shops.  Rennie Grove Director of Retail & Trading, Deborah Gould, explained: “Our 24 shops and other retail initiatives are tasked with bringing in over £2 million.  The Academy offers an excellent opportunity for new and existing managers to maximise the income-generating potential of their specific shop.  It will help them understand what sells well and how to optimise those trends through effective leadership, marketing and business development.  We’re thrilled to have this opportunity – and all at no cost to the charity thanks to our generous funders and partners.”

Dr Lesley Bridges, Principal Lecturer in Advanced & Continuing Professional Development, and Dr Rebecca Chandler-Wilde, Dean for Enterprise and Business Management, head the course for Bucks New University.

Dr Bridges said: "The programme has been developed for managers working in the charitable retail sector.  It aims to enhance and develop managers’ knowledge and skills of leadership and business management in order to respond effectively to the challenges faced in the charitable sector.”

Dawn Stokoe, Community Liaison Coordinator at John Lewis High Wycombe, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to share our skills and expertise in shop keeping and excellence in customer service."

Martin Thornton of The Clare Foundation, a charitable organisation, said he hoped should the course prove successful it may be extended to include other charities. He added: “The Clare Foundation’s raison d'être is to help charities work in a more business-like fashion so this project is a natural fit for us.”

If you would like to be a part of our retail team and are interested in volunteering in one of our shops, find out more