Scope wants to make its shops 'focal points of communities', says chief executive

Mark Hodgkinson tells Third Sector he sees them as more than just vehicles for raising funds

Mark Hodgkinson
Mark Hodgkinson

The disability charity Scope is rethinking how it uses its shops as part of a bid to use them for more than just raising funds.

Mark Hodgkinson, chief executive of Scope, told Third Sector that the charity was looking into how it could get more out of its shops and make them "focal points" in their communities.

"I think the aim of a charity shop should not be just to raise funds for our charitable purpose," he said.

"We have 214 shops and we do not look at those as being places where things can happen in the community."

He said the charity planned to pilot new ways of using shop space, such as providing opportunities for disabled people’s organisations to come together or offering chances for unemployed disabled people to gain work experience by working in a particular store.

The latter could help meet the charity's aim of increasing the number of disabled people in employment. 

Hodgkinson said Scope wanted to give flexibility to store managers to come up with new ideas that could be piloted at a local level in the coming months.

"We will test a number of things in the next few months and as we think through our strategy further," he said.

He said it was too early to say how much the idea might cost, "but probably not very much because it’s more about an attitude change".

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