With non-essential shops planning to reopen in June, charity shops are concerned about the deluge in donations as people clear out their wardrobes during lockdown
Time is something many people have had on their hands during lockdown. This has caused local authorities issues with waste collection as people clear out their homes. Now charities are worried that this will be the case when the reopen in mid-June.
Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association said that shops are concerned they will be ‘full to bursting’ with donations. He also added that shops weren’t just anticipating three months worth of donations, there would also be extra things that people will be donating due to their clear outs.
This comes after the Dogs Trust is urging the British public to think more carefully about adopting a dog during the UK lockdown.
The concern over safety and social distancing are leading some charities to take a staged approach to reopening. Senior Consultant at the Charity Retail Consortium, Vicki Burnett told the BBC:
“Many are planning a staged approach, opening the more simple-to-manage stores first and leaving the more challenging ones to later.”
Several charities have decided to take the staged approach, including the British Heart Foundation who has the largest network of shops across the UK. Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director at the charity, said they would reopen a small number of stores to establish safe practices before opening others.
Barnardo’s, Oxfam and Cancer Research are among the others that are also planning a phased reopening according to the BBC.
This comes after a new and original charity single titled ‘You make it better’ is hoping to raise money for the NHS.
Many volunteers could be shielding
Another issue for the charity sector is the number of volunteers they have in stores in the shielding category. In some shops, it may not be possible to open until this period is open due to shortages of people being able to volunteer. Plus, there is also the guidance to implement for all staff, volunteers and the public.
The sector is reported to have around 233,000 people volunteering in charity shops across the UK. However, many of them are over the age of 70, according to the Charity Retail Consortium. They also expect a recruitment drive of volunteers over the coming months due to the shortage they are expecting.
Will people return to charity shops after lockdown?
There have been several polls suggesting that people are concerned about what the retail landscape will look like after the restrictions are eased. It’s clear that at the very least, the next few months will include a very different way of shopping.
However, the nature of donations means that some people may be put off buying in the short term due to worry over the transmission of the virus. Speaking with the BBC, journalist and carer Elizabeth Mistry, said:
“I think it is very unlikely I’ll be buying second-hand clothes again for a long time.”
She expressed her concerns about where the items might come from and whether they would have traceability.
Ms. Burnett from the Charity Retail Consortium said that stores would have extra cleaning and hygiene practices in place. Plus, anything that is donated will be isolated for 72 hours.