Southern Area Hospice Services is to close its three fundraising shops due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The shops located in Newry, Banbridge and Rathfriland will now shut down in the next few weeks as trading performances fail to return.
The charity outlets provide second hand clothing for sale with all profits going to the palliative care facility, which needs £3m a year of fundraised money to operate.
A concerned Newry resident, who wished to remain anonymous said that the closure would be detrimental to the community.
She said: “There are a lot of people in Newry who are very upset about this.
“A petition was organised to have a rethink on the closure, but it seems it was not given the time of day.
“The shop, especially in Newry should continue to stay open as it provides an essential service to those in difficult times to be able to buy clothing at a fraction of retail prices.
“The closure of the shops will be detrimental to the area and to all the people who avail of the great service it provides.”
In line with government guidelines the Hospice shops were closed for several months from March 2020.
There is one paid employee in Newry who will be impacted by the closure.
Southern Area Hospice, CEO, Liz Cuddy stated that all volunteers at the shops would be offered the opportunity to support the Hospice in other ways.
“After careful consideration we regret that we have had to make the difficult decision to close the Southern Area Hospice Shops,” said Ms Cuddy.
“This is particularly regrettable in relation to the impact on our shop staff and the volunteers who have committed significant time to supporting the shops over the years.
“We know it will also be disappointing to our loyal customers and those who regularly donate goods.
“Ensuring we continue to deliver high quality patient care in the Hospice Inpatient Unit and our developing community services remains our number one priority.
“We need to maximise the income our supporters raise by focusing our attention and resources on the areas which will generate the most income for the Hospice to enable us to deliver these much-needed services.
“I sincerely hope all those impacted by the closure of the shops will understand the reason why we have had to make this decision and will continue to support the Hospice in other ways as this is crucial to the work we do for patients and their families,” added the CEO.