Mind’s 160 charity shops across England and Wales have raised an astonishing £1.5m in the first month since reopening their doors to customers – the best month ever in Mind’s retail history. The mental health charity is grateful to everyone for shopping and donating their pre-loved items, generating valuable funds. Mind is calling for further support, as their shops urgently need volunteers to help sort, price and sell generous donations.
These vital funds can’t come soon enough, as Mind announces a predicted £13m loss of retail generated income since the first lockdown. Simultaneously, Mind has seen a huge increase in demand for their trusted information and support services, of which Mind shops have always been a key source of funding.
Last year, 20 million people accessed Minds online and print information - the highest on record, and there were 117k mental health queries responded to by the charity’s Information team via phone, email and webchat. Mind has previously warned of a ‘mental health pandemic’, after their survey of over 16,000 people found two in three (65 per cent) adults aged 25 and over, and three in four (75 per cent) people aged 13-24 with an existing mental health problem reported worse mental health during the initial lockdown. With increased demand on the charity, and decreased funds, Mind shops need volunteers and donations now more than ever.
Mind is urging those who can’t volunteer their time to donate their pre-loved items. After months of Mind shops being closed, and a sudden surge in sales since reopening, stock levels across shops are low. It was winter when Mind’s shops closed – with heavy coats still lining the rails – so clothing for the spring and summer months is particularly needed. The average bag of items donated to a Mind shop is worth around £30 – 25 per cent more if the donor signs up for Gift Aid.
Andrew Vale, Managing Director of Mind Retail, said:
“This record-breaking month is testament to the tireless efforts of our dedicated volunteers and staff, as well as our generous donors and customers. Raising £1.5million in a month is incredible, and much-needed, to make up for the losses incurred by forced shop closures throughout the pandemic.
“Our wonderful staff and volunteers are doing incredible things – but they could do so much more with extra hands and donations. Due to the challenges of the pandemic, many volunteers have been unable to return – leaving shops struggling to cope. Volunteering doesn’t need to be a big time-consuming commitment – even just an hour a week could make a huge difference – and volunteers benefit from the opportunity to build their confidence, skills and gain qualifications. During a time when many have lost their jobs and support networks, volunteering at a Mind shop is a great way to make new friends in the community, find a route back into work, or even start a new career path.
“Ongoing support from staff, volunteers, donors and customers is crucial to make sure Mind’s shops can survive in this challenging climate facing our high streets. Mind won’t turn away suitable donations and will always be grateful of any time you can give. Donating or volunteering at your local Mind shop means Mind can continue to be there for the growing number of people in need.”
Marc Chapman has been volunteering at Taunton Mind Shop since it opened in 2019. He said:
“I had major spinal surgery 25 years ago which impacted my mental health. I went to my local Mind and was introduced to a nice gentleman who was really helpful. He sympathised with everything I’d been through, and offered me the help I needed.
“After receiving that support my health stabilised, but I didn’t have work, so I was becoming very isolated - I really needed something to keep my brain ticking over. I heard a Mind shop was opening nearby, so I asked if I could volunteer there. I’ve been here ever since!
“My colleagues at the shop are like family to me, so it’s great to finally see them all again now lockdown’s over. I found the lockdowns extremely tough, but I would’ve suffered much more if it wasn’t for the support Mind gave me. That’s why I continue to volunteer for Mind, because they got me through those dark days.”
Donna Hackett started volunteering at Camden Mind Shop in 2016 and is now the shop Manager. She said:
“Before I started volunteering, I was very isolated. I’d been out of work for a long time, so I was looking for something which would help me get back into a routine and regain confidence. One day, I was walking down my high street and spotted a Mind shop. Mind was a charity I had always wanted to support, as I was diagnosed with bipolar 20 years ago, so I went in and signed up as a volunteer.
“The staff there made it really easy for me to get involved, as they took away a lot of the obstacles I had faced in workplaces previously. They were very flexible about me changing my days when I wasn't feeling well, so it was a very supportive environment to work in. Volunteering gave me a sense of purpose, helped me get back into work, and really benefited my mental health.”
To find your local shop, visit mind.org.uk/shopsnearyouRetail