Scope backs national charity shop donation drive
14 May 2012
New findings from the Charity Retail Association (CRA) show the national love affair with charity shops is thriving, with income at an all-time high of nearly £1 billion as charity shops buck the high street trend.
The study, which shows that charity shop income has grown by 3.6 per cent year-on-year, marks the beginning of the CRA’s Choose Charity Shops campaign.
Over 5,500 shops are participating in the week-long drive to get more donations of unwanted items into charity shops.
Scope is promoting the campaign in all its 240 shops, local MPs are visiting stores in Sittingbourne and York and Michele Cruickshank, the shop manager from Bexleyheath, will be appearing on BBC London Radio to talk about the popularity of charity shops.
The donation drive also comes as Scope rolls out a programme of new shops openings, while revamping and updating others.
Two new shops in Cambridgeshire have opened recently. At the same time an additional 30 to 40 stores will be refitted with new fittings and fixtures and about the same number will have their fronts updated this year alone.
The CRA research found the recession playing a part in the popularity of charity shops with nearly one million more people from hard-pressed middle-class groups are shopping in charity shops since June last year.
But although price and affordability were important factors in reaching new customers, the study also found that people valued the good quality and range of items on offer in charity shops.
According to the CRA, the trend looks set to continue, with 22 per cent in the UK say that they are shopping in charity shops more frequently now than a couple of years ago, and nearly one in five (19 per cent) customers saying they would buy even more from charity shops in the next 12 months.
But the evidence shows that while charity shops are becoming more and more popular on the high street, they are struggling to get the donations they need through the door.
One in six people admit they have started selling their unwanted clothes to make money instead of donating them, with nearly a third of mothers (31 per cent) saying this. Fifteen per cent of people who didn’t donate said it was because they can’t afford to buy new clothing so are keeping things for longer.
This is an issue that could be exacerbated if councils go ahead with plans to take control of clothes donations to textile banks away from charities. Councils say the move will bring in extra funds. But it will also see charity shops lose out on stock, which could raise millions of pounds for vital work. In Bromley – where the council is pushing ahead with the scheme despite charities and residents raising concerns – Scope will lose about £360,000 a year.
Andrew Adair, director of retail at Scope, said: “Donations are the life-blood of our shops. Without them we simply could not survive or raise the vital funds we need for our work with disabled people and their families. I’d like to personally thank everyone who donates their clothes, books, music and household items to Scope. Wherever possible, we would encourage everyone to bring their donations directly into a Scope charity shop. It’s only through being sold in our shops that they will raise the most possible funds for our vital work.”