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30% of people think charity shops are more important to society after crisis, survey finds

06 Aug 2020 News

The inside of one of BHF's 750 charity shops

Image credit: British Heart Foundation

Almost one in three people think that the importance of charity shops to society has increased with the Covid-19 crisis, a survey has found.

The survey was commissioned by British Heart Foundation (BHF) and carried out by Censuswide. Some 29% of the 2,016 adults interviewed said they believe that charity shops are more important to society following Covid-19.

Two in five people (40%) also think that being sustainable and thinking about the environment when they shop is more important than before.

The trend is particularly strong among young people, with almost a fifth (19%) of respondents aged 25-34 saying they will be more likely to shop in charity shops than before, compared to only 6% of respondents aged over 55.

Respondents who said charity shops are more important to society than before cited providing affordable items to those with financial concerns (71%), raising funds for charitable causes at a time when they are especially needed (68%), preventing items from being thrown away (55%), and providing jobs and volunteering opportunities at a time the UK is facing recession (42%), as the reasons for their answer.

‘The reopening of charity shops is going to be vital’

BHF has a network of 750 charity shops, which reopened between June and July after being shut during lockdown. The charity said they normally raise around £27m a year. 

In June, BHF launched a service that allows people to donate to its charity shops via post for free, without having to visit them in person.

Together with the cancellation of fundraising events, the closure of charity shops is expected to cause a 50% drop in BHF’s net income this year. Last week, the charity announced plans to make up to 300 people redundant as a result.

Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director at BHF, said: “This pandemic has been devastating for so many of us and the reopening of charity shops is going to be vital for millions as we look to recover.

“Charity shops provide high quality items at affordable prices, power charitable services that have never been more in demand, reuse thousands of tonnes of items and provide a community space for so many volunteers and customers.

“Every pound raised in our shops helps us to support the 7.4 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases, many of whom are at increased risk from Covid-19. Shopping at the BHF will help us, help them.”

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