Our response to COVID-19

We have put together a number of offers to help support charities during this difficult time.

In order to make it easy to find out how we can help you, we have listed them all below.

Expert help in a time of crisis

Like many people, we watched with huge sadness as charity shops all over the UK closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We wanted to help the sector we have both worked in for many years, so we immediately put together a package of support, including one hour’s free telephone consultation to anyone who wants it.

We are delighted that many charities have taken up this offer, from tiny organisations with just one shop, to national chains with hundreds of outlets. 

Nine months in and we are still here, still offering help.

If you would like to book a call with us, to see if we can help with guidance or advice, do get in touch. 

You can email us at:


Volunteer Engagement & other insights

Working with our good friend Daniel O’Driscoll from Engagement Consultancy, we developed an early guide to keeping your volunteers engaged whilst your shops are closed, then followed this up with regular blogs on volunteering, reopening, training, engagement and much more.

Read our early thoughts here and subsequent blogs here

If you have any great ideas you’d like to share, or would like to be a guest blogger on our site to share your own insights, we’d love to hear from you. 

You can email us at:



Working with the sector

Since the start of the pandemic in this country, our sector has been so fortunate to have an amazing membership body in the Charity Retail Association (CRA). They work tirelessly to support charity retailers at all times – and never more so than in the past few months.

As proud and longstanding Corporate Members, we support the CRA in all they do, and we were delighted to be able to step  up to sponsor their first virtual conference in September 2020.

We encourage every charity retailer to join  – together, we are stronger. 



Free wellbeing session for charity retailers

During the first lockdown, we ran a session with Restorative Practitioner Sarah Baggaley called “Wellbeing leads to well doing”

The session drew on Sarah’s experiences of working restoratively in a social care context, and applied the ideas and principles to our own sector. The result was a wonderful session focusing on how to best support your teams in their return to work.

To support the sector as we face the same situation once again, we have released the video of the webinar free of charge for anyone who needs it.

You can read more about the session and access it here

We hope you find it useful. 

Online Learning

Early in the first national lockdown, we put together an online learning package aimed primarily at furloughed shop staff. The four sessions covered Volunteer Recruitment and Retention, Customer Service, Stock Acquisition & Management & Space Management. We then added a free webinar focussed on Wellbeing. Over 300 shops took part in the training and we received fantastic feedback.

David Burrell, CEO at Primrose Hospice told us:

Congratulations on producing a wonderful resource which will help me train & update the retail staff & prepare them to return. I do believe it will positively impact their mental health and well being”

UPDATE – 3.11.20

The success of Lockdown Learning helped us see how much charity retailers appreciated a sector-specific, online resource, so we’ve been really busy creating The Charity Retail Academy.  Here you can find online, bespoke, accessible & affordable courses covering all aspects of our sector’s work – made by charity retailers, for charity retailers. We have our volunteering module which went live in early November and lots more courses planned to arrive over the coming months. 

We’ve already had a number of charities sign up for the courses and we’re happy to chat with you about how we can support you and your team with all your learning needs.

Get in touch at hello@thecharityretailacademy.co.uk or call Vicki on 07985 574904