SHOCKED volunteers at a charity shop were given less than 24 hours' notice their store was closing, it has been claimed.

Barnardo’s shut up shop, in South Walk, Basildon , on Friday after trading in the town for three years.

The news was an unexpected blow for the 14 volunteers who helped to run the store with a paid manager and deputy manager.

A 50-year-old woman from Basildon, who did not want to be named, said the volunteers were told on Thursday the store would be closing the next day.

She decided to volunteer for the charity to boost her confidence and would sometimes spend up to six afternoons a week helping out at the shop.

She said: “All the volunteers are devastated and the customers will be too.

“Everyone had their own reasons for working there so it will have a big impact on all of us now we can no longer do our bit.

“It’s unfair the way staff have been treated. I thought they would have given us a bit more warning.

“We’re absolutely gutted. We’d built up regular trade with customers. “We had some lovely people coming in and we’d like to say thank you to them.”

A Barnardo’s spokeswoman said: “Barnardo’s require their stores to achieve a certain level of profitability in order to raise funds for the charity’s work with vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

“It’s with regret the Basildon store must close. Barnardo’s would like to thank the store’s volunteers for the time and commitment they have given.

“All volunteers will be formally invited to take up other volunteer positions within Barnardo’s retail stores. Barnardo’s thanks donors and customers of the Basildon branch and hope they will continue to support neighbouring stores in Billericay , Canvey and Corringham.”