FUNDRAISING NEWS: Campaign Watch - Just Breaking

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Help the Aged has launched a new campaign to promote its charity shops as a key player on UK high streets by decking its shop fronts out with eye-catching lifestyle banners, like those used by many larger fashion retailers.

The campaign aims to dispel the idea that charity shopping is a second-rate experience and show that, with a little imagination, anyone can start to create their own personal look by piecing together a collection of high-street and designer labels at charity shop prices.

The "Piece together your own collection" campaign is expected to pull young shoppers into the charity's chain of 378 high-street shops and improve on last year's sales performance.

"We want to build a reputation that goes beyond customers buying something just because it is inexpensive," said Regan Cooper, Help the Aged's PR and events manager for the North. "The idea is that people can piece together a wardrobe that is fashionable no matter what the occasion."

The campaign, which is scheduled to last for 12 months, was launched at the start of this week. Over the year, a set of 10 images will be used in the windows of all Help the Aged's charity shops nationwide. A number of models - including two professionals who offered their services free of charge and Help the Aged staff and volunteers - were photographed wearing outfits from the charity's donation sacks. The models represented all age ranges and the images reflect those used in fashion magazines and by successful clothes retailers.

"We wanted to give our shop windows a fresh look, to boost sales in a very competitive market and make Help the Aged's shops the first choice for people wanting to create an inexpensive fashionable wardrobe that is personal to them," said Cooper.

The shop fronts were an obvious choice for Help the Aged to broadcast the message of the campaign because the charity doesn't use any advertising, which leaves the windows as the main opportunity for self-promotion.

"We haven't set a specific target, but want to continue with our year-on-year increase in sales," said Cooper. "It will bring a whole new dimension to the shop windows and we hope it will widen our customer base."

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