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High Street Charities Prep For The Looming Issue of High Donations & Reduced Staffing

Sun May 31 2020

Chief Exec of the Charity Retail Association says Charity Shops that have been closed for weeks might face a ‘deluge’ of donations when they re-open soon

The fear is that when charity shops start to re-open a huge surge of donations will be given but, given that many shops will be returning with reduced workforces, this could cause even more staffing/supply/storage issues.

However, despite that, Robin Osterley, Chief Exec of the Charity Retail Association, has said there’s a “real hunger” amongst their members to re-open their stores after the Government’s announcement about non-essential shops being allowed to resume business after the 15th June.

He went on to say that most of the Charity Retail Associations members were planning a phased approach to re-opening, with just a few shops per chain at a time, meaning safety measures such as social distancing and a 72-hour quarantine period for donated items could be put in place, tested and then further rolled out.

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When the shops do reopen, they’re going to be faced with a double whammy of a very large number of donations for which they will be incredibly grateful, but a somewhat reduced workforce with which to process them.

Robin Osterley- Chief Executive, Charity Retail Association

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Given the volunteer status of many of the sectors workers Osterley has said whilst there’s a real appetite to get back to work, many volunteers may still be considered too vulnerable to coronavirus and must continue to shield.

Others may struggle with public transport and getting to work if they still need to enforce a strict social distancing meaning many shops would have to consider the feasibility of opening with a full compliment of staff, instead considering reduced volunteers/workers and reduced shifts.

 

He added it would be crucial that any new items coming into stores were isolated for 72 hours before being handled by staff or put on sale and urged the public to consider the value of their potential donations.

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We obviously don’t want to sound ungrateful, but rather than just bringing in any old thing, do think about the things charity shops will find most useful to sell.

Robin Osterley- Chief Executive, Charity Retail Association

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It may well be worth contacting specific charity shops before dropping off donations as many will be operating with strict guidelines for the processing of donations, with possible allocated hours/days of the week for drop off, sorting of goods and then particular hours/days for the selling of them. 

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Charities whose income has dropped off a cliff during the crisis will be able to generate cash. You can’t very easily restart the London Marathon or whatever it is you do to raise funds, but you can get cash in virtually the same day the shop opens.

I’m really proud of the charity retail sector for the way it has handled it. It's going to be a challenge, but not one they won’t be able to surmount, because they are a very creative lot.

Robin Osterley- Chief Executive, Charity Retail Association

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Sun May 31 2020

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