Tag Archives: shops

Virgin Media Business’s VOOM: vote for your favourite disability product pitch

VOOM is a competition from Virgin Media Business giving businesses and professions the chance to pitch for a £250,000 ad campaign and £50,000 in cash!

Vote for your favourite pitches before voting closes on 23 May.

Here’s our round-up of some of the most interesting pitches we’ve seen which are about supporting disabled people.

Neatebox system

Women sitting in kitchen with guide dog using her mobile

The Neatebox app sends a signal from the user’s phone directly to staff in partnering businesses to tell them what the user needs and to give them tips on how best to interact and help.

Inclusive Leisure

Diagram of a gym

Inclusive Leisure wants to create a fully-equipped gym designed for disabled users but accessible for all.

Limitless Travel

Pier going out to lake and mountains. Text reads #Limitless

Limitless Travel wants to create a community of disabled travelers to share their knowledge and travel experiences.

Opening Minds Training

Disabled man with woman and shop assistant in a clothes shop

Opening Minds provides support and training to organisations from disabled people. The sessions give businesses invalue insight into how to be more inclusive and the challenges around accessibility.

Magnum Services

Magnum Services logo

Magnum Services uses professional amputee actors and makeup artists for simulation in film, television, emergency services and the military.

Access Champ

Access champ logo and website address - accesschamp.co.uk

Accesschamp wants to train hotel, restaurant and venue staff on how to provide outstanding customer care and accessible venues for everyone.

Everyone can play

Drawing of adventure play space

Thomley is an activity centre for disabled people with play areas, sensory room and a seven acre outdoor play space. They want to create a new exciting outdoor space.

Seable HolidaysGroup of people guiding each other down a road

Seable is a social enterprise which provides accessible and active holidays.  They want to recruit a larger team in order to scale up their business.

Vote for your favourite pitches before voting closes on 23 May. Find out more about how VOOM works.

“Working with Scope is never boring”

Guest post from Malt Films – the creative team behind our new shop stock appeal film – a spoof of the iconic Cadbury’s Milk Tray ads. We’re aiming to get one million items donated to our shops this July – and we hope you can help us!

Here Malt Films talk about how it came about, and how Scope have challenged their thinking towards disability. 

It was a hot spring day, which is lucky in England. Even at 7am as we unloaded equipment and explored the luxurious home that would be our workplace for the next 13 hours, the camera crew and director were discussing the best order of the day. The challenge was that although we were filming in strong sunlight, the film needed to look like it was nighttime, and the position of the sun and the shadows would be important.

Stunt man dressed in black standing on a high wallThe stunt man – a ridiculously talented 24-year-old called Pip, was being given makeup and everyone on set was excited for the moment he would jump (hopefully unharmed) from the upper floor balcony. We were rushing to get as much filmed as possible before our star, Adam Hills, arrived at 9.30am; and so we were pressing-on, filming stunts that would make even a hardened athlete envious – it would be a tight schedule!

There’s one thing we have come to learn working with Scope – it’s never boring. We’ve met loads of incredible people with stories that highlight why we Storyboard artwork sketches of different scenes for the filmneed to change society so that disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. We’ve also been helping out on Scope’s current End The Awkward campaign that’s challenging people about their attitudes towards disability with honest personal anecdotes from disabled people. So when we were asked to help Scope produce the 2015 Great Donate stock appeal film, there was a real buzz in the studio.

This year’s film would be a spoof of the classic Cadbury’s Milk Tray adverts and spoofs are not always easy. How similar can the films be for it to work?  Will the original advertisers mind? How do you turn a chocolate box into a Scope donation bag? These were all questions we had to answer as well as writing the script, producing a storyboard, and getting permission to use the iconic music from the original advert.

Holly Candy smiling, holding a donation bag and walking down a streetThe shoot would be split into two days. A full day in Buckinghamshire, where Adam Hill’s character would break into a stately home to leave a donation bag for a lucky woman. This sees him overcome a high perimeter wall, navigate some aggressive dogs (comically played by ‘sausage dogs’), and some laser beams (because all good films have laser beams). The second day would be a half day at a Scope shop in north London where we meet Holly Valance from Neighbours, as the lucky lady who learns (spoiler alert) that she may not have been the only person he visited that night.

Adam Hills standing next to the stuntman in a garden, both dressed in blackThis project proved to be as exciting as we’d expected. A healthy rivalry developed between Adam Hills and his “ridiculously good looking” stunt double, who had been drafted in for some of the more impossible moves.

Adam rivaled Pip with his own cartwheels in a battle of who could perform the most stunts. We had a classic ‘continuity blues’ moment when Adam arrived wearing a bright yellow and green prosthetic leg as opposed to his usual skin-coloured one. And to make it more dramatic, a swan decided to perform a series of excitable manoeuvres of its own, right in the middle of the dilemma.

Adam Hills sitting on a wooden bench and holding a sausage dog on his lapSuch is the nature of film-making, for all the best laid plans there are always challenges that need to be overcome and unexpected moments you might film that become unscripted nuances. There is one big unscripted gag in the final film – can you guess what it is?

If you’re interested to see some of this first hand, we also produced a behind-the-scenes film too:

All in all, we’re extremely proud to have been a part of such a dynamic, entertaining and challenging campaign.

What do you think? Has it inspired you to take a bag of donations to your nearest Scope shop

5 tips to help you declutter your home

This month we’re asking you to become a #GreatDonateHero, and take a bag of donated goods to your local Scope shop.

Jasmine runs Change Your Space and is a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers UK. Here she gives her top five tips to help you declutter your home.   

I am a professional organiser. I climb up into lofts with people who are moving house and daunted by having to delve into the recesses of their home. I listen while clients sort through the wardrobe of a Bed with loads of clothes piled on top of itloved one who has passed. I’ve gone into homes where no one else has been for five years and you can hardly make it into the hallway.

Through it all I’ve learnt a major lesson: it’s rarely just about the stuff. Sorting is likely to be an emotional journey through your identity, history, relationships and self-esteem –  but that is an amazing journey too.

There are great benefits to a good review of your belongings:Large pile of games, board games and toys spilling out of a cupboard

  • Doing your bit: recycling and charitable donations are good for the environment and community
  • Financial: the average home has about £600 of unused items residing in cupboards and lofts
  • More space: it is estimated that we would gain 30% more room from conducting a review
  • More efficiency: 80% of what we file we never refer to again
  • Time saving: we spend 20 minutes a day trying to find important items that are hiding
  • Clarity: the average 10 year old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 dailyBox full of scattered paper and documents

Knowing it’s good for us may still not be enough to commit time to the process. So how do we make progress with our sort out and stay motivated?

My top five tips to personally equip ourselves for a review:

  1. The power of memories comes from accessing them regularly and not the volume.

    This can be a key way to navigate through inherited items, children’s pictures, and family photographs. Think of a format by which you can be in touch with that memory. I’ve created a scrapbook of photos of a ball gown collection with the stories associated with them for a client. This brought great joy to her and the three wardrobes of clothing could be re-homed.

  2. Celebrate finding something you thought was lost.

    This will definitely happen. It’s usually in the first hour of a sort session, but we always take time to celebrate this find. Be pleased with yourself. When a birthday present was rediscovered we had a little celebration there in the loft. So many of our belongings are about joyous times. Take time to reconnect with that.

  3. Have structure and parameters to your sort.

    This can be that you are tackling this one cupboard for one hour and you have your recycling and donations bag at the ready. It will call you back to task when emotions can start to cloud what you are doing.

  4. Be content with a first sift.

    Rather than agonising over whether to keep items that may have sentimental poignancy, satisfy yourself to go through the area making easy decisions first. Where is the excess cardboard? Where are the clothes you can donate easily? Leave tougher decisions to a second sift when you have made progress on clearing a space first.

  5. Make a memory box.

    There has been much written about whether an item sparks joy, and the psychology of making decisions, but I never presume what people want to keep and what they wish to let go. What I do find helps is having a memory box where items are to be kept well. When you know you have a few things kept safe that remind you of key chapters, you don’t feel as if you have to keep everything.

Feeling inspired? Watch our #GreatDonateHero film below, find your local Scope shop and get sorting!

If you’d like to find out more from Jasmine about decluttering, just email her and she can send you some tips for your particular problem area: jasmine@changeyourspace.co.uk

Retail Innovation Project: What happened next?

A few weeks ago we wrote a blog introducing a retail project we are running, to which we have given the catchy name ‘Retail Innovation Project’! This is the project that the Foresight and Innovation and Retail departments are running together, with the aim of trying new ideas and increasing profitability of Scope shops. Eight shops are involved in the project, trialling eight different new ideas. Each participant has up to £1000 to spend over the duration of the three month project.

We heard in the last blog from participant Hannah Croft about her experience of the initial group workshop. She and the others were thrown into a world of post-it notes and brainstorms, encouraged to identify an area to work on in their individual shops, and to generate loads of ideas that they could test.

The project has now been running for a while, and we thought it was time to give an update. What ideas are being trialled? Have there been any successes so far? Has innovation been demystified?

Gary from the New Milton shop and Sheelagh from the shop in Hexham are both trialling quite different ideas, so we asked them to share their thoughts with us about the process and experience so far.

So, what’s the idea(s) you’re testing and why?

Gary beads sitting at deskGary: Have you ever found yourselves with your head down doing lots of jobs in your shops, distracting you from Customer Magic? I know I have! This is why I was thrilled to get involved with the Retail Innovation Project. It was a chance to push forward and trial two ideas to be more customer-focused and less task-driven. My two initial ideas were a new stock take-off system and a customer service window.

‘Take offs’ (stock that needs to be moved off the shop floor) in my shop take ages and really limits me engaging with my customers, so I wanted to simplify it. I am trialling a way of identifying what to take off by having coloured cubes on the hangers, each colour denoting a different day. It’s going well and I have reduced my take off time to 10 minutes a day, a massive time saver!

I am also trialling an 11 ‘til 3 Customer Service Window. This means we don’t do any jobs during that time and only focus on our customers. This is work in progress and we plan to launch it on 6th May with a Flash Sale and lots of in store activity to make our customers feel special. My team and I are really excited to be doing new things and hopefully hearing the till ring.

Hexham shelvingSheelagh: I’m trialling a ‘Collector’s Corner’ in my shop in Hexham, on every second Tuesday of the month. Hexham is a small market town with a big interest in antiques. It has a large monthly Antiques fare and I thought it would be a good idea to create some interest in our higher priced collectable items by designating a special area in the shop for collectables whilst the town had dealers and visitors attending the fare.

Did you have any fears about the project?

Gary: Having the chance to try anything to help increase sales is exciting and a bit daunting at the same time. It’s quite difficult not to limit yourself, and I have had to really try to stretch my ideas around activities for our customers during the service window. Once I opened my mind to innovation lots of ideas have flowed, resulting in me waking me up one night soon after the meeting scribbling down ideas!

Sheelagh: I worried that our regular customers may be put off by seeing so many higher priced items in one go in the shop, but because of the special display until we made it created a good talking point, and our regulars have also purchased items from it.

What’s been the best part of the process so far?

Gary: Throughout the first meeting it was great to meet other Managers who have new ideas but not always a way forward for them. The room was a brilliant melting pot of ideas that we already do in our shops and new ones which we would trial. Also the new system seems to be working! The time taken to do take-offs has decreased from a couple of hours to just 5 to 10 minutes, meaning more time to interact with customers. It is also simpler and more visual, so all my volunteers can do it and I have total inclusion in this task.

Sheelagh: The best part has been seeing the team in the shop’s reaction to my idea and watching them work as a team to promote it and chat to customers about the idea. So far we have raised nearly £400 just from these sales, and with more advertising and interest we hope to be even more successful.

What have you learned about innovation and what it means from this project?

Gary: One thing I have learnt about being innovative is that your ideas change. Sometimes things get bigger and better and others become too complicated and you need to let them go. It’s been a long process that is still ongoing and I am waiting to see if my innovations really work and put more money in the till.

Sheelagh: I thought at the beginning of the project that the decisions about the idea would have to come from the retail management team. However having the freedom to run with my idea and test it in store has been a very  positive experience and made me realise that ideas can come from anyone, and that testing these ideas is the best way to find out whether or not they will work!

I have also learned that you need to be open to your ideas changing and not worry that the working plan you begin with might not necessarily be what you end up with.

What one piece of advice would you give someone look to try out new ideas?

Gary: The one piece of advice I would give anyone trying out new ideas is be bold and stick to your guns if you believe in your ideas. You never know you could be on to a winner that everyone at Scope could benefit from.

Sheelagh: Have faith in your ideas and learn from your mistakes. I didn’t know that making a small area in the shop into a special interest area would generate so much income for our shop!

Investing in Innovation

Retail is a really important to Scope. It’s how many people recognise us as a charity and it raises vital funds for our work, so it’s important to continue to invest in new ideas and practices. It’s also a competitive environment, so we have to occasionally embrace risk and step outside our comfort zones to ensure that we are continually striving to improve our performance. As Gary and Sheelagh found, everyone has the opportunity to try to operate a bit more innovatively. An important part is trusting that you have the insight and experience to have great ideas, and to really believe in them.

There are three more weeks to go before the project ends, at which point we will review the whole experience and see what we have learned. Maybe there will be ideas which can be rolled out to our other shops, or maybe participants will be inspired and will inspire others to keep thinking creatively and innovatively in their shops. Either way, it’s been great to create room for the chance to try out new ideas.

Have you seen any charity shop innovations in action, or visited one of Scope’s shops recently? Leave us a comment or email us your thoughts at foresightandinnovation@scope.org.uk

Scope’s retail innovation challenge

Staff members huddled in front of Scope logo

Scope has 237 charity shops across England and Wales. And their recent foray into innovation (remember the Strip for Scope campaign?) has inspired us to undertake a new project – Scope’s Retail Innovation Challenge.

Creativity, enthusiasm and a willingness to go above and beyond to make a successful shop were all part of the selection criteria to identify a group of 10 shop managers and assistant managers to help us find new ways to boost shop profits and generate more income, to help Scope make the world a better place for disabled people. It was also a great chance for us to put the innovation process we’ve been developing through its paces.

Staff members working around conference table
Staff members working around a conference table

We kicked off the challenge with a two day workshop for the 10 participants who travelled from as far away as Skipton, Totnes, Liverpool and Hull to gather at our head office in London.

Their challenge was to identify an idea for increasing profit in their shop that they could take back and test over the next eight to 10 weeks. With less than two days to do this it was a big ask!

But as an excited and expectant new group, we dived straight in to insight gathering, problem shaping, ideation and getting into the shoes of customers and donors. By 3pm on Friday each participant emerged weary but exhilarated with two promising ideas that they could take back to their shops to begin to test with our support.

Participant Hannah Croft (Assistant Manager in Scope’s Liverpool shop) shared her experience of her two day trip to London:

“My day started at 5.53am when my train left New Brighton, set for Liverpool, where I would then travel to Euston. It was a stormy morning and I thought I could have been blown all the way to London. When I finally got to Euston the sun was shining and it was warm enough for me to take off my scarf and mittens! I didn’t know what I was going to be doing or who I would meet over the next two days. I was excited but I was a little nervous too!

Once at head office I met the team and we started to piece together the outline of what was in store. From that moment the room never lost the buzz of conversation, sharing ideas, experiences and inspiration.

In the Scope shop where I work, my manager and I have different ways of working, different personalities and views, and that’s no bad thing! It means we normally get the best of both. But it was nice to spend time with people who seemed to think like I did.

We were told that we had a huge opportunity to generate ideas for our own shops and trial them. We were also told we would have few limitations to what we could trial in our shops, as long as it was realistic and in budget. We spent two days working as a team on areas of potential for our own individual stores. I felt like I was 10 again, stood in Toys ‘R’ Us after winning the lottery! It was just an overwhelming feeling of excitement and playfulness.

I have been given the chance to break away from the rules, the norms and guidelines and potentially achieve something great for our store and for Scope. I left the workshop on day two bouncing off the walls. I rang my area manager as soon as I could to tell her every detail I could remember. I spoke so fast and excitedly that she had to tell me several times to stop and breathe.

On returning to my store, I must be honest, it was a bit like being brought back down to reality. Our store is really busy and I am still to have the chance to discuss properly with my manager and settle on the path I should take. I have done some work in my own time on my areas of interest and am looking forward to progressing through the project and seeing what I can achieve. I like to hope I brought a little of the sunshine from London, back to Liverpool.”

Hannah and the other nine participants will be testing out their ideas over the next eight to 10 weeks, letting us know how they fare along the way, what works and what doesn’t! We look forward to sharing what happens.

Ruth, Zoe & Rosa

Scope’s Innovation Team

What’s in your wardrobe?

Guest post from Katie Adams, Media and Public Relations Officer at Scope.

” I just wasn’t quite Liberace enough to wear them”

If you enjoy shopping, there’s a very good chance you have a wardrobe full of clothes you’ll never actually wear!

Losing weight, following a crazy fashion trend and listening to the advice of others. These are just some of the reasons we buy ourselves new clothes, but then never actually debut them in public.

A nation of secret hoarders

Later this month, we will release the surprising results of a poll into people’s shopping habits, exposing large numbers of us as secret hoarders.

Most of the men and women quizzed as part of the poll admitted buying new clothes and then just leaving them to sit in their wardrobes, with both sexes being exposed as frequent impulse shoppers.

One month, one million items

The polling will support a celebrity-backed bid to collect 1,000,000 donations at our shops throughout July. Actress Lynda Bellingham is supporting our Scope’s Great Donate – one month, one million items challenge and urging people to think about what they could donate from their own closets.

We have already been busy talking to shoppers about their reasons for hoarding clothes and we want to know what you’re hiding in your own closets.

Here’s what you’ve been telling us so far:

Craig Evry, 34, from Oxford said: “I think men are just as bad as women when it comes to shopping and we all buy clothes for the wrong reasons. I remember buying a David Beckham-style sarong in a moment of madness once – I wore it once, but needless to say it never saw the light of day again.”

Shed Simove, lives in London where he works as a performer, author & entrepreneur. He said: “I once had a suit made out of some black fur I bought at a Chinese market. The suit was beautifully cut, but when I got home and I put it on for my family, they couldn’t stop laughing. I looked like some sort of bear or gorilla. It’s such a lovely suit that I can’t bear (ahem) to part with it, so it’s just sitting in my wardrobe and hasn’t been worn since.”

Shed said he also bought a pair of pink sequinned Patrick Cox shoes which have since ended up as stunning ‘shelf art’. He explained: “I’d previously owned some black versions in the exact same design, which I adored and wore all the time. The pink ones captured my imagination when I saw them, but in the cold light of day, I just wasn’t quite Liberace enough to wear them.”

Mother Adele McIntosh, 39, had a disastrous personal-shopping experience at a big high-street chain after having her twin daughters and wanting to revamp her image.
She said: “Unfortunately for me I found myself going with the flow and ended up buying a tiny crop top and red mini skirt that I never ended up wearing.
“It’s so easy to get carried away when you’re shopping, forgetting about what you’d actually wear in your everyday life – rather than what you like in the changing room.”

Whatever the reason for your shopping mistakes, we want to hear your stories.

Email me at katie.adams@scope.org.uk, tweet us using #GreatDonate to @scope or contact us through Facebook with pictures of clothes you have bought but never worn and the reasons behind your hoarding.

Volunteers Week: Layla’s story

I started working in Scope six years ago in the summer of 2007 and have never looked back. The reason I chose Scope is that I noticed my friend was working as an assistant manager in the store and I thought it would be fun to work with her.

After starting volunteering at the store I found that it had a good volunteer base who were all friendly and easy to work with.

NVQ in Retail

Through volunteering I have gained a lot of experience and an NVQ in Retail – I am now a key volunteer which will further me in my retail career.

As part of being a key volunteer for Scope I have run the shop on occasions and train new volunteers on the till and in other areas like steaming and tagging the clothes before they are put out on the shop floor.

With the 20% discount on all donated stock for volunteers as well as paid staff, you will often see me buying clothes and other items for both me, my family and friends.

Making customers happy

One of the things I love the most about being a volley for Scope is the customers and making them just that little bit happier for the day. For example, there was a young woman who spotted a pair of new rock boots in the window and after she had bought them she was so happy she skipped out of the shop.

In the future I would like to be the manager of a charity shop as I enjoy working in the charity shop environment and believe in helping others to help themselves.

I would encourage others of all ages to consider volunteering in Scope for the experience and qualifications you can gain and the friendly atmosphere you will always find in this environment.

Scope supporters and shoppers show Britain cares

As the numbers of views of the Britain Cares campaign film fly past the 100,000 mark, the photo actions grow each day and the I Care actions get ever more creative, you may wonder if the Britain Cares team could sit back and take a breather. Not for a minute! And now more than 26,000 people have taken part in the campaign.

At this crucial time to influence the Government to ensure that disabled people get the social care they need – the reality is far from relaxing. Over the past few weeks the flurry of energy for Britain Cares has been magnified all around the country, as Scope customers have been signing campaign cards in their thousands across our 235 shops. It’s fantastic to see so much support for this crucial campaign.

For the past two weeks, Scope shoppers have been invited to choose a postcard and send it to their MP. There are six card designs, each representing a different area of life that social care makes possible for some disabled people, ranging from the essentials like getting washed and dressed to being able to leave the house to meet family or go to work. Things that many of us may take for granted, until we consider life without them.

Leslee Welman, manager of Exmouth’s Scope shop, has been busy speaking to customers about the Britain Cares campaign and collecting hundreds of signed postcards. She told us how brilliant it has been to see such a lot of support for the campaign from her customers:

“It’s been really positive so far. It’s wonderful to see our customers so passionate about this issue and able to take action by signing a campaign card. They’re really keen to do anything they can to support the campaign, and of course Scope. I’ve spoken to many of my customers who are personally affected by changes to social care and therefore this is really important to them.”

All the signed cards are now on their way to Westminster, to call on MPs to take action and ensure that social care is funded in the upcoming Spending Review and that disabled people get the right support to live their lives.

If you are one of the thousands of people who have already signed a Britain Cares card in a Scope shop – thank you for your support. Please stay involved, and visit www.britaincares.co.uk for the many ways you can continue to show you care.

Tell us your Scope shopping habits

With nearly 250 charity shops across the nation and new shops scheduled to open throughout the year, Scope’s retail chain is thriving.

Scope’s shops raise vital money for our work with disabled people and their families, as well as providing a visible presence on high streets across the nation. Our shops are a hub for local communities and offer bargains to shoppers, as well as giving volunteers an opportunity to gain new skills and experience.

Charity shopping habits

When it comes to our shops, it’s the stories from our customers, volunteers and staff that really spark people’s interest and that journalists want to hear about.

Over the coming weeks we’re particularly keen to hear more about your shopping habits as well as your views on charity shops in general and find out if you’re interested in getting involved with our media work in this area?

One habit we’re looking to explore is whether you have ever been guilty of buying brand-new clothes from the high street, but then never wearing these clothes outside of your home. Are they clogging up space in your wardrobe with the tags left on? We would love to know why you bought these clothes in the first place and we would also like to know why you never wore them. Were you following a fashion trend at the time, or did you buy the garments to slim into, but never reached your ideal weight?

Changing attitudes to charity shops

Another issue that always sparks our interest is people’s attitudes towards charity shops and whether public attitudes have changed over the years.

If you are a recent convert to charity shops we would love to hear from you and find out why you now shop in them. Maybe it’s the bargains, or maybe you’ve developed a new and unique style thanks to the wide range of clothes available in charity shops these days.

If you would like to share your views and experiences here and potentially help with future media work please contact Media officer, Katie Adams at katie.adams@scope.org.uk or call 020 7619 7730.

Share your Scope shop treasure on Pinterest.

Great Donate time again! Recycle your wardrobe

Time again to have a good clear out after receiving all those nice new Christmas presents and help us replenish the supplies of Scope charity shops with some clean, quality goods.

Can you help us? Every bag you fill up is worth about £20 to Scope. Ladies handbags and belts bring a lot of money in and any brand named clothing items.

We do this several times a year from Meldreth and take our bags to our local Scope charity shop in Cambridge. We would like to ask parents and friends to participate this year. If you are coming to visit residents in the next few weeks please drop off your bags in reception as close to Friday 18 January as possible.

Our residents will deliver the bags to the Cambridge store on Wednesday 23 January.

Thank you for your continued support.