Charity Starts on the High Street

One of the political themes heavily promoted by the coalition government, which came to power in 2010, was David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’.

The credit crunch and a severe restriction in government spending has meant that many traditional charities have lost either the majority or all of their funding that previously came from local authorities and central government.

Charity donations have also been decreasing as the general public struggle with higher costs of living and less disposable income and this has meant charities have urgently had to rethink their fund raising activities.

The rapid increase in the number of vacant retail units caused by the failure, downsizing and move online of a number of long established high street retailers has meant that rental values of shops in some prime locations have fallen dramatically over the past couple of years.

Craig Powell, Associate Director, Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell commented:
“Charities have identified the growing demand for value goods and are taking advantage of the current market conditions to secure prime locations that only national retailers could have afforded in the past”

“Although charities and discount retailers are popular with shoppers, landlords and local authorities still need to ensure that there is a good mix of shop types to ensure their town centre appeals to all members of the local community”

A report produced by The Local Data Company in September 2011 recorded a 28% jump in the number of charity shops in Britain since June 2009 to nearly 8,500.

Many regional charities are now actively looking to expand their retail offering into neighbouring areas to take advantage of the demand from shoppers looking for low cost products. Some charities that used to only sell donated items now offer a mixture of both old and new items which further enhances the appeal of their retail offer.

Charities taking advantage of these retail opportunities are often also able to offer employment to unemployed local residents and may also provide other services to the local community such as coffee mornings which all fit perfectly into the ‘Big Society’ concept.