The British Heart Foundation is launching a free postal donation service in a bid to reduce the number of people visiting its 750 shops when they begin to reopen over the next few weeks.
The charity said smaller items, including books, clothes and vintage toys, donated to the charity retailer through its new post-and-donate service would be sold on the charity’s eBay store online or in one of its shops.
Supporters can access the charity’s free service through its website by requesting a freepost label.
Non-essential retail stores in England, including charity shops, will be able to reopen from 15 June if they meet the government’s criteria, including completing risk assessments and following Covid-19 working guidelines.
The BHF said it would begin the process of reopening its physical stores over the next few weeks.
The BHF said that, in line with the guidance, all donations it received in stores would be left alone for 72 hours before being placed on the shop floor, while each store would have contact-free donation points.
Asked about the anticipated costs to the charity of the post-and-donate service, a spokeswoman for the BHF said: "During trials of this service we found that the postage fee came out at around 6 per cent of the value of a package sent to us, making it a viable way to raise money to help fund our life-saving research.
"During this time we want to provide donors with options to make it easier to give, particularly if their local shop is yet to reopen, they don’t have a shop or store nearby or are uncomfortable with visiting the high street. This service will help them help us raise vital funds."
Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Our charity shops run purely on the support of the public, which is why we never take for granted a camera, record or video game that’s donated to us. Every item we sell helps to fund our vital research.
“Our new postal donation service is quick, easy and free. It’s the perfect solution if your local BHF shop is not yet open and you have items you want to give, or you’re simply not ready to head to the high street.”