We at CARE back the contents and sentiments of this article and look forward to seeing our generous donors and customers in late June, early July when we will be able to re-open our charity shop in a way that is COVID-19 secure, in line with the governments advice; As a charity our main priority will be the safety of our staff, volunteers, donors and customers.
The chief executive of the Charity Retail Association says shops that have been shuttered for weeks might face a 'deluge' of donations when they reopen for business
Charity shops could be hit by the “double whammy” of a high number of donations and reduced workforce as they begin to reopen, the chief executive of the Charity Retail Association has warned.
But Robin Osterley told Third Sector there was a “real hunger” among staff and volunteers to open their doors after the government announced non-essential shops could reopen from 15 June.
He said most of the CRA’s members would adopt a phased approach to reopening and would be opening a few shops at a time, ensuring they could implement safety measures such as social distancing and a 72-hour quarantine period for donated items.
Most shops could be open by the end of July, he said, but he emphasised that was “𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑎 𝑔𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑠”.
But Osterley added: "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.”
The vast majority of charity shop staff have been furloughed under the government’s job-retention scheme. Osterley said both they and volunteers had reported as being keen to return.
But he said there was likely to be a large number of volunteers who were still considered vulnerable to coronavirus and needed to be shielded.
Many might also have issues accessing the shops without public transport and with social distancing in place, he said, and it might not be feasible to have the usual number of staff and volunteers in shops at the same time.
Shops would potentially also face “𝗮 𝗱𝗲𝗹𝘂𝗴𝗲” of stock donations, including the usual number of donations charities would have expected to receive during the three months shops have been closed, as well as extra donations generated by people who had spent the time at home clearing out unwanted items, Osterley warned.
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.
He urged the public to consider the value of their potential donations.
“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," he said.
Osterley added that people should contact a shop before bringing donations in, because many shops would be implementing strict protocols for processing donations, such as allocating certain hours or days of the week to receiving and sorting goods, and certain hours or days to selling them.
Many charities struggled with people leaving unwanted items outside closed charity shop doors during the lockdown, which were quickly ruined or became a safety hazard, said Osterley, reiterating calls for people not to drop off goods if shops were closed.
But he said: “𝘞𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩-𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘱𝘴’ 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴."
“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.”
He said it was “𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵” for shops to reopen, but to do so in an orderly fashion that kept people safe.
“𝑰’𝒎 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒓𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒍 𝒔𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒐𝒓 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒊𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒍𝒆𝒅 𝒊𝒕,” 𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒊𝒅. “𝑰𝒕'𝒔 𝒈𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒂 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒆, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒐𝒏’𝒕 𝒃𝒆 𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒎𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒕, 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒂 𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒍𝒐𝒕.”