Most people believe that high street charity shops are “a valuable service”, according to new research by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).
The research, commissioned by CAF and conducted by YouGov, found that 62 per cent of people believe charity shops add value to their community, while 37 per cent of people regularly shop in their local charity shops.
Susan Pinkney, head of research at CAF said: “Charity shops have thrived in the UK for generations, which is no great surprise considering just how supportive most people are of charities in this country. It’s amazing to see that over 20 million British people regularly pop to a charity shop, and clearly there is an appetite to see empty shops used in a way that supports the local community.”
“Everyone wants to see our high streets thrive, and charity and community shops can be a great way to offer a valuable service while keeping our town centres bustling with activity.”
In recent weeks charity shops have been the subject of critical national newspaper articles, which have criticised the tax breaks available to charity shops.
The figures come from a survey of 1,176 people. They show that a further 70 per cent of people agreed that handing empty shops to community groups until a permanent use can be found is a good idea.
The news comes despite a wider decline of the high street. Most recent figures this month from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed that 10 per cent of high street shops are empty.
A spokesperson from the Charity Retail Association said: “We believe Charity shops are integral to the high street’s future sustainability in the UK. They fill empty units and draw in footfall, not only for our members’ shops, but their retail partners on the high street.
“Charity shops continue to provide vast employment and volunteer opportunities and their status as hubs in the community is without question. We’re delighted the results of the CAF survey bear this out.”