It is estimated that 45,000 charity shop volunteers have given up their roles since the start of the pandemic
Charity shops urgently need to recruit new volunteers after seeing a major drop in those able to give up their time.
New research from the Charity Retail Association (CRA) has revealed the number of shop volunteers has plummeted by around 45,000 across the UK since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The body estimates that figures for volunteers are around 20% down on 2019 levels.
The CRA said that around 233,000 people volunteered at charity shops before the pandemic struck. Feedback from its members suggest that this number is now down by at least a fifth, with many shops “struggling” to replace volunteers who have not returned after lockdown.
Robin Osterley, chief executive of the CRA, called for volunteers to come forward.
He said: “The public has been fantastic in supporting charity shops recover from the lockdown with shoppers and donors returning in large numbers. Charity retail staff and volunteers have worked with great energy, enthusiasm, and creativity to ensure that charity shops have bounced back strongly from the enforced closure during the lockdown. Consequently, many charity shops are now outperforming the level of sales achieved pre-covid, which is an incredible achievement given the many challenges presented by the pandemic.
“Based on feedback from our members, we estimate that charity shops are operating with at least 20% fewer volunteers than before the pandemic. This is potentially causing an issue in their ability to respond to the great demand for their services.
“With the growing public interest in reuse, now is a great time to volunteer in a charity shop and to be part of a great team raising money for charities, helping the environment by promoting reuse and bringing a real buzz and sense of community back to our high streets. Whether you have previously volunteered in a shop or not, you can sign up to be matched to a charity shop in need of volunteers, or pop into a local shop and speak to the team there.”