The British Red Cross has opened their doors again in the hope of a busy summer trading period.
The charity’s shops, which have been closed since Wales’ lockdown before Christmas, and the start of England’s third lockdown on 5th January, are a major source of income for the Red Cross, as well as being the charity’s most visible presence in many of our towns and villages.
South Wales Retail Manager Patrick Jackson says they’re a vital community resource and is passionate in the belief that, despite a societal shift to online shopping, bricks and mortar charity shops provide a vital social function. He said:
“Red Cross shops, along with other charity shops, provide important volunteering opportunities which not only enable local people to give something back to their community, but also give volunteers an opportunity for regular social interaction and a strong sense of purpose, which is so important for wellbeing. Our shops all also have regular customers who pop in for a chat or to donate items and really value having a friendly space to connect with on their local high street.”
The Red Cross is in the process of reviewing when it will be safe for those of its volunteers who are in the ’clinically extremely vulnerable’ groups to return and, in the meantime, is planning to promote the benefits of volunteering to new audiences. Patrick Jackson said:
“Many people who never volunteered in their lives before have played a vital role in community response to the pandemic and we hope that many of them may want to continue enjoying the ‘feel-good’ benefits of volunteering. Our shops provide a perfect opportunity to give a few hours a week in a welcoming environment and to do some good as part of a charity that’s not only involved in the local community but is part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, with all of the personal and career development opportunities that that brings.”
And the message to charity shop supporters, which includes both shoppers and donors?
“Please do bring us your donations, we’re really grateful for them. And please do remember to Gift Aid if you’re eligible.’
‘We can’t wait to see all our customers again and as we’ve had a number of donation initiatives during lockdown we’ve got plenty of spring bargains for you to browse including great clothes, paperbacks and CDs, as well as furniture, blankets and rugs for your socially distanced outdoor picnics and barbecues! Every purchase made at one of our shops has huge environmental benefits in terms of reducing, reusing and recycling.”
Find your local Red Cross retail branch at: https://www.redcross.org.uk/shop