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Majority favour filling empty stores with charity pop ups, CAF survey finds

Majority favour filling empty stores with charity pop ups, CAF survey finds

The majority of people favour filling up empty high street shops with pop up charity or community stores until a permanent use is found, according to a Charities Aid Foundation survey.

CAF’s survey found that found seven in 10 people in the UK favoured this approach, with 78% of people wanting empty high street shops to be filled as soon as possible, rising to 87% of those aged 65+. The survey also revealed that 37% of people aged 16 and above regularly shop in their local charity shop, and 62% of those polled believe charity shops provide a valuable service on their local high street, rising to 66% of women.

CAF cites a number of examples, including Pop Brixton in South London, which is a partnership between locals and Lambeth Council that will run until 2020, and has transformed a disused plot of land into a space for local businesses to set up shop and share ideas. Members invest time into charitable and community projects such as children’s art classes and horticulture training. Last year, Harrods also opened a pop-up charity shop for a month in aid of NSPCC, while M Restaurants launched a pop-up dining event at its Victoria branch that donated 100% of the profits to the charity Not For Sale.

Commenting on the findings, Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at the Charities Aid Foundation said:

“Charity shops have thrived in the UK for generations, which is no great surprise considering just how supportive most people are of charities in this country. It’s amazing to see that over 20 million British people regularly pop to a charity shop, and clearly there is an appetite to see empty shops used in a way that supports the local community.

“Everyone wants to see our high streets thrive, and charity and community shops can be a great way to offer a valuable service while keeping our town centres bustling with activity.”

YouGov surveyed 1,176 adults aged 16+ online between 18–28 January this year for the study.


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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