Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland create virtual charity shop in the metaverse 

CHSS has teamed up with university researchers to create a charity shop in the metaverse.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) is believed to be one of the first UK charities to set up shop in the virtual world to raise vital funds. 

Researchers from the University of Strathclyde’s Business School (SBS) are working with the organisation’s management, volunteers, and customers to understand their requirements, before building and launching a CHSS metaverse and digital assets.  

The metaverse – the meeting of physical and virtual spaces accessed through computers and enabled by immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality – will provide customers with an accessible digital retail platform and access to educational content. 

With latest figures showing a 20 per cent increase in charity sector shops online income in the last quarter of 2023 and estimates that around three per cent of Scotland’s charity organisations are at risk of closure, CHSS came up with the idea of creating a retail experience within the metaverse. 

Billy Farrell, Head of Income Generation at the charity, said: “Diversification is crucial to meeting targets of increasing income from £10 million to £15.8 million over the next five years.  

“This growth will help us towards our goal of reaching 175,000 individuals affected by our conditions every year by 2028.

“The metaverse presents an exciting opportunity for CHSS and we’re eager to establish our presence within this innovative platform. 

“We’re delighted to be working with Strathclyde Business School and see an opportunity to engage with people across the globe, which could act as a platform for the expansion and scaling up of our charitable endeavours.”  

CHSS supports people with chest, heart, and stroke conditions, including long covid, and is Scotland’s largest volunteering organisation with more than 4,000 volunteers to deliver services and run 40 charity shops across Scotland. 

Academic lead on the programme, Dr Andrew Davis, from Strathclyde’s Department of Marketing, said: “To survive these turbulent times, many third sector organisations are exploring new ways to diversify income-generating and user-engagement methods through innovative and digital technologies.  

“This project will bridge the digital gap by working with CHSS and helping them to develop, support, and future-proof their digital retail strategy in the context of the metaverse.”  

Andrew is supported by Strathclyde marketing department co-investigators Dr Sharon Lemac-Vincere and Dr Sissi Lehto.

Dr Lemac-Vincere, said: “The third sector is incredibly important, but is facing a perfect storm of fewer volunteers, reduced government funding, growing user demand and rising operating costs, as well as reduced income and increased competition from other charities, all of which have dire consequences.  

“What makes this project exciting is the vision not only for a virtual charity shop, but creating new ways for individuals affected by certain conditions to access self-managed support resources. 

“We are also keen to explore how the inclusion of a virtual gym offering exercise classes for individuals, post-stroke or heart attack, may be beneficial for the CHSS community.”

14/06/2024 15:44