MPs visit Scope charity shops to promote direct donations

Gareth Thomas MP in Scope shop

Scope is one of several major UK charities that have taken part in the Charity Retail Association’s (CRA) national campaign to encourage more people to donate to charity shops.

MPs across the country visited a number of Scope charity shops in their constituencies as part of the CRA’s Choose Charity Shops campaign that ran from 14-18 May.

Among them were the Rt Hon Harriet Harman (see right), MP for Camberwell and Peckham, who met Scope’s Dawn Drake on Friday 18 May. She said:Harriet Harman MP in Scope shop

“I would like to thank Dawn Drake and the volunteers who welcomed me to Scope on Peckham High Street today. Scope and other charity shops rely on donations from the public. So I encourage everyone to clear their wardrobes and cupboards of unwanted clothes, books and household items and donate them to Scope or their nearest charity shop.”

On their visits Hugh Bayley, MP for York Central, and Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West both stressed the centrality of charity shop donations to the overall funding received by charities. Hugh Bayley MP said:

“Many charities have had their funding cut or withdrawn because of the spending squeeze by central Government. This has happened at a time when many of them are facing increasing demand for their services. Most charities are short of money and they depend on members of the public donating cash or good-quality items which they can sell in their shops. Lots of people have clothes which they do not wear or else they have unwanted gifts which do not see the light of day. A bag of unwanted clothes can be worth about £20 to a charity such as Scope and this can pay for valuable services for people in need.”

Gareth Thomas MP (see top of page) echoed these concerns when he visited his Scope store to make a donation of books. He said that charity shops are the “heart of the high street”. He added: “They are a sustainable way for charities to raise much-needed revenue in the face of unprecedented cuts in Government funding. Research by the Charity Retail Association demonstrates the enormous generosity towards and support for charities, including in communities like Harrow.”Gordon Henderson MP in Scope shop

Gordon Henderson MP (see right)for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, has also taken part in the campaign. Visiting the recently refurbished Scope charity shop in Sittingbourne, he called upon his constituents to donate: “I was happy to donate some of my old clothing to Scope and I would encourage my constituents to have a rummage through their wardrobes and do the same.”

Recent figures released by the CRA, the UK trade association for charity shops, state that more people than ever are increasingly using charity shops. They estimate that 22 per cent of people in the UK are shopping in charity shops more frequently now than a couple of years ago, and nearly one in five (19 per cent) customers saying they would buy even more from charity shops in the next 12 months.

Scope depends on the revenue it receives from its network of charity shops to be able to deliver its high-quality services for disabled people.

Andrew Adair, director of retail at Scope, said: “Donations are the life-blood of our shops. Without them we simply could not survive or raise the vital funds we need for our work with disabled people and their families. I’d like to personally thank everyone who donates their clothes, books, music and household items to Scope. Wherever possible, we would encourage everyone to bring their donations directly into a Scope charity shop. It’s only through being sold in our shops that they will raise the most possible funds for our vital work.”

Scope is looking forward to building on the success of the Choose Charity Shops campaign and hopes that people will be encouraged to continue to donate and make use of Scope’s charity shops.

Full details about the CRA’s campaign can be found at www.choosecharityshops.org

For more information about Scope’s involvement in this campaign please contact the Scope media team on 020 7619 7200 or press-pr@scope.org.uk.