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Article: Community spirit: Volunteering in a charity shop


Community spirit: Volunteering in a charity shop

The great lockdown clear out.

As a nation, we have been cleaning, tidying and decluttering our homes to epic proportions. This has resulted in our humble charity shops being inundated with donations. Our first thought, ‘Imagine the treasures to be found!'. We love nothing more than rifling through the rails to discover a pre-loved gem.

However, on top of implementing social distancing restrictions, charity shops have been forced to re-open their doors with a reduced number of volunteers. The Charity Retail Association warns charity shops could be hit by the “double whammy” of a high number of donations and a reduced workforce.

The reason for the reduced work force is a high number of charity shop volunteers are over the age of 65. In fact just 17 percent of volunteers in the UK are under 25. This means a big chunk of the volunteer force will not yet be able to return due to continued shielding or taking extra precautions when in public.

The events of the past few months have shown us the importance of community spirit. Charity shops are still a beloved fixture of our high streets and often a hub for the local area. They are vital income channels for charities of all sizes, all 11,000 of them across the UK that help raise almost £300m for good causes each year.

You local charity shop needs you

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, give back to the local community and help support a brilliant cause at this really tricky time. Get in touch with your local charity shop directly to find out about their volunteering opportunities. Alternatively, The Charity Retail Association has launched a website to match people with volunteering opportunities in charity shops. All you have to do is pop in your postcode and you will be matched up with a charity shop in your area who need your help. You can even state which causes you’d prefer to work with. Find out more here.

Pass me on

We understand not everyone is in a position to volunteer. You can still support your local charity shop by donating any unwanted items.

Passing on pre-loved items is something very close to our heart. Wear me, love me, mend me, pass me on. That's our mantra. The journey and environmental impact of clothing does not end once purchased. Give your clothes a life beyond you.

Make a start. Now is the perfect time to give your wardrobe a summer detox. Read our thoughtful guide to cleaning out your wardrobe here.


Do you have some unwanted items but can't get to a charity shop?

Our fantastic charity partner TRAID, will come and collect them from you. TRAID collect and reuse unwanted clothes in the UK, all while raising funds to support global projects to stop exploitative practices in the fashion industry.

TRAID can collect any clothes, shoes and accessories that you or your family no longer wear, whether it’s from Thought or not. You can also donate unwanted books, DVDs and bric-a-brac. Fill at least one bin liner size bag (if there’s more, even better!). Traid currently operate in London, Brighton, Slough, Windsor, Surrey and parts of Hertfordshire including St Albans and Harpenden.

Discover more about TRAID and book a collection here.

Have you been volunteering in your local charity shop? Or have you found any real treasures recently? Let us know in the comment below.

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