We are the primary membership association for charity shops in the UK.
Our sector generates more than £330m surplus funds per year from more than a billion pounds of turnover, and harnesses the skills of more than 233,000 volunteers nationwide. Charity retail promotes charitable causes and an environmentally sustainable retail experience.
Our UK members run around 9000 shops between them.
A successful, sustainable, trusted and valued charity retail sector.
Six strategic objectives
These objectives form the basis of our activities. Every activity that we undertake will fall into one of these objectives:
- Champion charity retail
- Strengthen charity retail
- Build a strong community of charity retailers
- Be the accessible knowledge hub of charity retail
- Promote environmental sustainability within the CRA and the sector
- Strengthen the CRA’s capacity to support the sector and our members
Strategic plan 2021-2023
You can read about the context and how we will achieve our six strategic objectives in our strategic plan 2021-2023.
What we do
- Lobby on key issues including Gift Aid, waste charging and donated stock supply
- Provide a sense of community and collaboration both online and through a comprehensive schedule of events
- Promote best practice through policy guidance, mentoring and other practical resources
- Increase public support for charity retail through campaigns
- Carry out and commission research, such as market analysis and specialist reports for bench-marking and informing decision-makers, our members and the public
- Provide training and learning opportunities
Our board of directors
- Karen Bilsby – Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People
- Ruth Blayze – Scope
- Sarah Coles – The Hospice of St Francis
- Susan Cooper – Highland Hospice
- Lorna Fallon – Oxfam GB
- Jane Flannery – British Heart Foundation
- Sophie Lea – St John’s Hospice Shops
- David Longmore (Vice Chair) – Barnardo’s
- Karen McKenzie – Douglas Macmillan Hospice
- Jo Mewett – Cancer Research UK
- Emma Peake (Chair) – The Air Ambulance Service
Robin Osterley, Chief Executive
Robin joined us as Chief Executive in November 2015. After an early career in IT, he moved into the third sector and has more than 20 years experience of running membership organisations with a charitable purpose, including sports campaigning organisation Supporters’ Direct and the largest arts umbrella group in the country, Making Music. He has sat on numerous Government committees and forums, and does a great deal of local volunteering in his “spare” time.
Alex Angelakis, Member Services Manager
Alex joined us in February 2018 as Events Officer to provide maternity cover for Julia Cloke and is now a permanent member of the team. He holds a BA (Hons) Degree from the University of Winchester. He has previously worked in events management, overseeing the delivery of training courses across the United Kingdom for more than four years.
Olaia Alamos Castresana, Head of Research
Olaia joined us in November 2015 to lead our research programme, which keeps members informed and helps them benchmark performance, whilst also supporting our public affairs and policy work. She has experience working with not-for-profit organisations and commercial retailers. She holds a BA(Hons) Business Administration from the University of the Basque Country and an MSc in International Fashion Marketing from Heriot-Watt University.
Julia Edwards, Head of Outreach
Julia joined us in May 2015 to organise and develop the training and events programme. Previously she worked at Diabetes UK organising residential events for children with Type 1 diabetes. She also worked as part of the wider team to deliver their annual professional conference. Prior to this, she was responsible for events at a small educational charity where she organised training days, awards ceremonies and their flagship conference.
Julia is currently on maternity leave.
Dorothy Ferguson, Head of Finance
Dorothy joined us in August 2016 to manage and report on the Association’s finances. She has an extensive background in finance and has previously held positions in management accounting, project finance, fixed asset accounting as well as treasury in various industries including the not-for-profit sector.
Jonathan Mail, Head of Public Affairs
Jonathan joined us in August 2019 to lead our policy and public affairs work. He was previously the Chief Campaigns Officer at the Campaign for Real Ale where he worked on successful campaigns to reduce taxation on beer and pubs, improve planning protection for pubs and securing new legal rights for publicans. He also worked as a MP’s researcher in Parliament and studied British Politics and Legislative Studies at the University of Hull.
Susan Meredith, Head of Charity Membership and Deputy Chief Executive
Susan has looked after charity member services for us since July 2005, and after a variety of responsibilities, including events, website, IT, finance and corporate partnerships, she has returned to a charity member focus, including communications and campaigns. Susan looks forward to expanding membership further, developing member services and bringing the Association to a wider audience.
Anna Pashley, Corporate Partnerships Manager
Anna joined us in January 2022 to lead our corporate member services. Anna was previously Head of Membership at NAVCA, the national membership body specifically for local sector support and development organisations, where she led on developing commercial and corporate relationships across the sector. Passionate about collaboration, Anna looks forward to working with corporate partners and finding new opportunities to showcase the many values of working with the charity retail sector.