Charity shop opening dates including Cancer Research and Shelter confirmed as Brits urged to hold onto donations for now
SOME of the country’s largest charities are planning to reopen their charity shops from the middle of next month, as they urged the public to hang on to their donations until then.
Charities including Cancer Research UK, Shelter, Oxfam, British Red Cross and Age UK, which between them operate more than 2,000 shops on British high streets, are currently putting together plans to throw open their doors safely.
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Boris Johnson announced earlier this week that all non-essential retailers, including charity shops, could reopen from June 15.
Some charities have warned Brits not to be tempted to throw things away while the lockdown is still in place, but instead to hang onto them until shops and donation points reopen.
Julie Byard, director of trading at Cancer Research UK, said: “We rely on the generosity of the public to fund our lifesaving research so we’re grateful for all donations and to everyone who volunteers and shops with us.
“We’re anticipating a phased reopening of our shops commencing the week of June 29, with variations across the devolved nations.”
She said the shops were putting measures in place which means they can welcome customers and handle donations safely.
These include installing hand sanitiser stations, cough guards, contactless payment and face coverings for staff, as well as floor markings inside larger superstores and social distancing mapping for the front and back of each of its 600 shops.
Donated items will also have an isolation period before they’re sorted to be sold.
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Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said its around 100 charity shops play “a big part” in helping to fund vital services.
“As a result, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to get our shops ready to re-open, and back to the business of supporting people without a safe place to call home.
“So, in line with government guidelines, we will begin gradually re-opening Shelter shops from mid-June, while keeping the safety of our staff, volunteers and customers top of mind.”
Shelter shops will also be following social distancing and hygiene measures, and will quarantine stock for 72 hours before it goes onto the shop floor, she said.
Other charities were yet to put a date on when they might return to trading.
Oxfam said it was working on “a detailed plan” to enable staff to return to its approximately 650 shops.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “We welcome the fact that many people are taking the opportunity to de-clutter during lockdown and we are asking people to hold on to those items for now and donate them to Oxfam when the shops and donation banks are open again.
“We ask people not to leave donations outside shops.”
The British Red Cross, which has 310 shops in the UK, said it was still in discussions about "how to move forward".
"It is our top priority to make sure that everyone is as safe as possible," it said.
Similarly, Age UK, which has more than 350 shops in the UK, said it would be publishing more details of its reopening times shortly.
Nick Smith, head of retail at Age UK, said: “We are working hard on our preparations for reopening, which of course will be in accordance with government guidance and which we expect to roll out in phases.
“Older people are among the hardest hit by the pandemic and they need our support now more than ever, so in the meantime we’d urge the public to hold on to any good quality items they might have cleared out during lockdown.
“They will be able to drop the donations off once their nearest Age UK shop has reopened.”
The Charity Retail Association (CRA) published guidance on what charity shops can do to stop the spread of coronavirus earlier this week.
Retailers including Debenhams and John Lewis have drawn up plans to begin a phased reopening from June 15.
Ikea has also announced that it plans to reopen from June 1.
Here's everything that has reopened so far.
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