The mental health charity Mind has announced retail losses of £1.5m in sales in the run-up to Christmas.
The loss is a result of national lockdowns in England and Wales forcing its 166 charity shops to close for over four months.
Despite efforts to move stock online, the closures are making it difficult for them to raise money to provide mental health support to the growing number of people in need.
The charity said shop closures are a bitter blow, as are a key source of unrestricted funding, money that can be used for any Mind activity, including running their Infoline and producing information and advice around coronavirus.
With only 23 days of shopping until Christmas when stores reopen on December 2, Mind is asking everyone on this Giving Tuesday (1 December) to shop with purpose: support your local Mind shop, so they can keep supporting us.
The festive period is particularly lucrative for high street stores, and charity shops are no exception: Mind predict a loss of around £1.5 million in potential sales in November due to the lockdown.
In total, the charity lost £400k in November. While the charity are taking advantage of the government’s job retention scheme, the deficit is growing because they are topping up staff income to the full salary, and must continue to pay shop rents.
These costs, along with a smaller online presence than other retailers, has left the charity concerned.
Andrew Vale, managing director of Mind Retail, said: ‘Despite the job retention scheme and the tireless efforts of Mind Retail staff and volunteers, we’re unfortunately in a difficult financial situation.
‘This means we might not be able to support everyone who needs us this winter. We’re doing everything we can, now we need you to do everything you can, by shopping in Mind stores or online, in the final run up to Christmas.”
‘That being said, please be patient with our staff and follow the safety guidelines we have in place – they are both here to make sure you have the safest and smoothest shopping experience possible.’
The charity has previously warned of a ‘second pandemic’ of mental health problems, with calls to its Infoline doubling in October, reaching up to 500 calls a day. With an increasing demand for services and decreasing funding, the charity needs your support now more than ever.
The pre-Christmas period (November and December) make up around 20% of Mind’s retail profit for the year, meaning the second national lockdown has cut 10%of their income.
With just 23 days left before the big day, shop staff will be working hard to stock the shelves with designer clothes, good quality bric-a-brac and brand new gifts to help you save money and time.
People can support the charity by picking up a bargain in a Mind shop, donating items or by making a cash donation.
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