The mental health charity Mind has announced retail losses of £1.5 million in sales in the run up to Christmas. The loss is a result of national lockdowns in England and Wales forcing its 166 charity shops to close for over four months. Despite efforts to move stock online, the closures are making it difficult for them to raise money to provide mental health support to the growing number of people in need. With only 23 days of shopping until Christmas when stores reopen on 2 December, Mind is asking everyone on this Giving Tuesday (1 December) to shop with purpose: support your local Mind shop, so they can keep supporting you.
The festive period is particularly lucrative for high street stores, and charity shops are no exception: Mind predict a loss of around £1.5 million in potential sales in November due to the lockdown. In total, the charity lost £400k in November. While the charity are taking advantage of the Government’s job retention scheme, the deficit is growing because they are topping up staff income to the full salary, and must continue to pay shop rents. These costs, along with a smaller online presence than other retailers, has left the charity concerned.
Charity shop closures are a bitter blow. They are a key source of unrestricted funding – money that can be used for any Mind activity – including running their Infoline and producing information and advice around Coronavirus. The charity has previously warned of a ‘second pandemic’ of mental health problems, with calls to its Infoline doubling in October, reaching up to 500 calls a day. With increasing demand for services and decreasing funding, the charity needs your support now more than ever.
The pre-Christmas period (November and December) make up around 20 per cent of Mind’s retail profit for the year, meaning the second national lockdown has cut 10 per cent of their income. Charity shops traditionally rely on foot traffic to draw in customers, but Mind are trying new methods to get customers engaged. Mind Ambassador and fashion lover Fearne Cotton has donated a selection of pre-loved items to Mind’s online Christmas auction (find out more: mind.org.uk/ChristmasAuction). Mind’s online store is also carrying Christmas cards and calendars.
This is not enough to make up the financial loss they are faced with. While online sales are a good stopgap, the charity is urging the public to safely shop in store now that shops have reopened. With just 23 days left before the big day, shop staff will be working hard to stock the shelves with designer clothes, good quality bric-a-brac and brand new gifts to help you save money and time. Two thirds of people are experiencing worse mental health this year, so celebrate love and generosity this Christmas by supporting Mind. With your help, they can be there for everyone who needs them.
“I’m so happy to be supporting Mind’s first ever Christmas auction, and really hope the pieces I’ve chosen inspire people to check out the online shop and get bidding if they can.
“I know that the closure of Mind’s shops this year, due to the pandemic, has made it really hard for the charity to raise the money needed to provide information and services to millions of people, and at a time when more of us are struggling with our mental health. I’m therefore really keen to help raise funds and awareness of Mind’s online shop, but also encourage everyone to visit a Mind shop when they reopen to donate, shop or volunteer.’’
Fearne has been a dedicated Mind Ambassador since 2017, giving up her time to support a number of Mind’s campaigns and events, as well as providing opportunities for Mind to highlight its work and fundraise through her Happy Place Festivals and recent collaboration with exercise brand Sweaty Betty.
“Despite the job retention scheme and the tireless efforts of Mind Retail staff and volunteers, we’re unfortunately in a difficult financial situation. This means we might not be able to support everyone who needs us this winter. We’re doing everything we can, now we need you to do everything you can, by shopping in Mind stores or online, in the final run up to Christmas.”
“That being said, please be patient with our staff and follow the safety guidelines we have in place – they are both here to make sure you have the safest and smoothest shopping experience possible.”
Mind is asking you to support them in three simple ways:
• Pick up a bargain: The shops add 100s of new items of stock to the shelves every day so pop in regularly to be the first to see the latest everyday bargains or retro one-offs. Find your local shop here. If you can’t get into a shop, visit our eBay or online store for Christmas cards.
• Drop in and donate: Donating items to Mind charity shops can be as good as making monetary donations as each bag donated can have a cash equivalent of £30 once turned into saleable stock. Don’t forget to Gift Aid your donation, as this increases the value of your donation by 25 per cent, with no cost to yourself.
• Support our Christmas Appeal: Mind relies on donations from generous supporters to keep providing their services. Find out more and donate here.
Fearne is not available for interviews.
For interviews with Andrew Vale, Managing Director of Mind Retail, please contact Isabel Muttreja, Assistant Media Officer, at [email protected] Or Jessica Putt, Media and Celebrity Assistant, at [email protected]. For urgent out of hours media enquiries, contact the media team on 07850 788 514.
Find your nearest Mind shop at: mind.org.uk/about-us/mind-shops-near-you/.Retail