Charity shops have a huge positive impact on people’s wellbeing, a ground-breaking new report commissioned by the Charity Retail Association has found.
The Social Return on Investment (SROI) report, ‘The Value of Giving Back – The Social Return of Charity Shops’ has been commissioned by the Charity Retail Association, kindly supported by law firm Foot Anstey, to understand the social value generated by UK charity shops and the benefits they bring to customers, staff, volunteers, and donors, and was undertaken using established principles of assessing social value.
The report found that charity shops generated £75.3 billion of social value in 2022; 49% of this total social value is linked to giving back to others or the planet, whilst 29% is about a sense of community and being met with friendliness and compassion in charity shops. On top of funds raised for charities, every pound spent on operating charity shops generates an additional phenomenal £7.35 in social value.
Giving back to others, doing something good for the planet and opportunities to socialise were among the top responses people gave when asked what charity shops mean to them.
‘The Value of Giving Back – The Social Return of Charity Shops’ report is the first of its kind to be created for the charity retail sector to investigate the value charity shops have to society beyond the hundreds of millions of pounds they raise for their parent charities each year.
The report found that as well as being affordable and sustainable places to shop, charity shops also play an important role in improving people’s lives and wellbeing, generating social value in many different ways.
Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association, said:
“It’s well known that charity shops are fantastic places to find affordable clothing and homeware, but this report has allowed us to dig deeper into the impact that charity shops also have on people’s wellbeing and the importance of charity shops to communities. The report has been an opportunity to showcase the ways in which working, volunteering, shopping in or donating to charity shops can really make a difference to people’s lives and how they see themselves.
“Charity shops are at the heart of their local communities and occupy a special place on high streets across the country. It has been very rewarding to gain more insight into the positive impact they have and find out more about why they are so valued by the people that engage with them.
“We hope that the findings of ‘The Value of Giving Back – The Social Return of Charity Shops’ report will provide a useful insight for charities, as well as establish recognition of the incredibly important, varied and beneficial role charity shops play in our society.”
Anna Phillips, Head of Charity Property for Foot Anstey, said:
“We are entering an unprecedented period when the power of ‘good’ is being recognised and valued by modern society perhaps like never before. Charities in the UK are an incredible force for the positive and charity shops often form their most accessible public face. Foot Anstey is proud to be a part of this opportunity to highlight the immense value of charity shops to society for social cohesion, lived experiences and the impact of giving back to people and the planet.”