CRA and Later Life Ambitions join forces to encourage older people back to charity shops

Later Life Ambitions, a campaigning organisation representing over a quarter million pensioners, have joined with the Charity Retail Association to support their initiative to match potential volunteers with charity shops, and to support older people to return to their volunteering roles.

There are more than 230,000 retail volunteers nationwide, and around 20% of those are over 65. As shops begin to reopen, the Charity Retail Association anticipates a shortage of volunteers, as many existing volunteers will be unable to return straight away because of shielding, public transport issues, or preferring not wanting to leave their homes at this point. The CRA has launched an initiative to match potential volunteers with charity retailers to help plug this gap.

Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association said:

“As charity shops across the country begin to reopen, we are working to help shops fill volunteering gaps.

We want to support all existing volunteers back into shops, as well as encouraging new people to sign up and support the shops and their parent charities.

Around 20% of the volunteering workforce in our shops is over 65, and we are delighted to be working with Later Life Ambitions to help encourage them to return and continue to make a vital contribution”.

The CRA is also working with its members to produce guidance to support the over 70s, and others who may require additional support, back into their roles. This includes encouraging older volunteers to discuss returning to work with their friends and families, ensuring additional safety measures are in place where necessary, and making it very clear what those measures are before people return to their place of work.

Lisa Ray, Later Life Ambitions spokesperson and General Secretary of the Civil Service Pensioners’ Alliance said:

“Many older people across the country are fit, active, and make a vital contribution to their communities. We know that a high proportion of our members have continued to volunteer throughout lockdown and are keen to return to their roles in shops as soon as possible.

Later Life Ambitions is pleased to support the Charity Retail Association’s drive to increase the number of volunteers in charity shops and help ensure that the contribution of older people to society is recognised and celebrated.”

Members of the public who are interested in volunteering can sign up at  Charity retailers who have vacancies will then be able to interrogate the database and identify potential volunteers according to their location and specific charity interest.

Later Life Ambitions brings together the collective voices of over a quarter of a million pensioners through three organisations – the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, the Civil Service Pensioners’ Alliance, and the National Association of Retired Police Officers. We campaign nationally, regionally and locally on a wide range of issues to improve the lives of our members, and older people more generally.