More than a third of charity shops reporting recruitment and retention challenges

Charity shops are struggling to attract volunteers and staff, latest figures have revealed.

According to data revealed by sector body Charity Retail Association (CRA), 33% of those working in the sector are reporting volunteer shortages, while 38% are reporting staffing challenges.

The findings have emerged amid an increase in income and transactions in stores.

The CRA found there was a 15.1% increase in like for like store income in January to March this year, compared to the same period in 2022.

Over the same period there was a 12.4% increase in the average number of daily transactions.

“It’s clear from our data that charity shops remain incredibly important to shoppers as the they look for affordable shopping choices to help combat the effects of the cost-of-living crisis,” said CRA chief executive Robin Osterley.

“Charities are working hard to provide their customers with the best shopping experiences that meet shoppers’ needs, from trying out new online sales platforms to renovating their shops.

“Charity shops are also perfectly positioned to appeal to sustainable shoppers, as more people look to make environmentally friendly choices and can easily find a range of charity retail options on their doorstep.

“The public can help to support charity shops by prioritising donating to charity shops when having clear-out and volunteering their time wherever possible. Charity shops not only benefit people looking for affordable and sustainable shopping but are also crucial to raising money for good causes, so every time you support a charity shop it really does matter.”

This week Charity Times reported that Young Lives vs Cancer has announced the closure of its chain of 13 charity shops over the next 18 months, affecting 39 roles and 300 volunteer posts. Despite the shops generating a net income of £450,000 the charity believes it can achieve a better return on investment through other income generating activity.

Also, this week, the charity Mind found that more than a quarter of people found charity shops to be “supportive and friendly communities” and one in ten said that emotional support was a key factor in volunteering in a charity shop.

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