Charity shop volunteers fell by 45,000 during pandemic, new figures indicate

The number of people volunteering in charity shops has fallen by an estimated 45,000 during the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.

The Charity Retail Association said the number of charity shop volunteers, which was 233,000 in 2019, had since fallen by an estimated 20 per cent.

The membership body said charity shops had experienced a recent surge in donations and rising sales, but were struggling to recruit enough volunteers to replace those who had not returned after the national lockdowns.

Robin Osterley, chief executive of the CRA, said many charity shops were outperforming the level of sales achieved before the pandemic.

“Based on feedback from our members, we estimate that charity shops are operating with at least 20 per cent fewer volunteers than before the pandemic,” he said.

“This is potentially causing an issue in their ability to respond to the great demand for their services.

“With the growing public interest in reuse, now is a great time to volunteer in a charity shop and to be part of a great team raising money for charities, helping the environment by promoting reuse and bringing a real buzz and sense of community back to our high streets.”

The CRA has launched an appeal asking anybody interested in volunteering in a charity shop to sign up using an online platform, which can be found here.

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