I've recently changed my mind about the value and role of Charity Shops in Formby Village.
Here are five of the reasons for my change of mind, what do you think?
- Charity retail is vital to charities incomes and the health of the high street according to some recent research by Demos Charity Shops only generate 0.39 per cent of UK retail sales yet charity shops generate as much as 18.7 per cent of income for UK charities. In other words their sales are a very small proportion compared with other outlets. On the hand Charities derive a significant proportion of their income from that activity. These shops provide publicity and help inform the public about the role and function of the Charities many of them operating locally.
- An increasing number of the public find them useful as the cost of living increases while incomes decline or at best remain level. According to Demos 38% of all social groups say it's 'likely or very likely they would buy from these shops to save money.
- Contrary to the common view Charity Shops provide significant employment and volunteering opportunities in local communities. Charity shops employ an estimated 17,296 staff across the UK and have a volunteer workforce of some 213,380. These opportunities benefit individuals, the wider community and the economy alike.
- Charity Shops provide spaces for individual volunteers and the public to meet and interact. They are good 'social spaces' they help with 'social cohesion' and to address the issue of 'social isolation' for many of the volunteers.
- Charity shops occupy the spaces that empty shops leave, they frequently arrest the spread of empty, boarded up, derelict shop fronts. They are alive unlike graffiti covered, litter strewn shop fronts. They keep the shopping spaces open and attractive. They are in fact stabilising our local shopping centres and they actually attract footfall and meet specific local needs.