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Oxfam to start reopening high street shops from 15 June

Oxfam to start reopening high street shops from 15 June

Oxfam is to start reopening its high street shops in phases from 15 June.

The first stage will involve a number of shops in England, with as many shops as possible open for business by the end of July. Shops in Scotland and Wales however will remain closed for now.

According to Oxfam, taking a staggered approach will help shop teams ensure there is space for social distancing, and that staff and volunteers have the personal protective equipment they need. All surfaces, doors and equipment will be regularly cleaned. Shops will be accepting donations soon after they open but donated items will be isolated for 72 hours before volunteers process them. As this will take up storage space, Oxfam is asking people to call ahead before donating.

To help its shops reopen, Oxfam is also appealing for volunteers. Each shop typically relies on a team of 30 dedicated volunteers and one or two staff, with more than 20,000 volunteers required in total.

Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB chief executive, said:

“Our shops are a much loved part of their communities and, at this difficult time, we can’t wait to reopen our doors and reconnect with our supporters and shoppers. Our shop staff and volunteers are working hard to make sure we can welcome the public back into Oxfam stores safely.”

“I know that many of us have been busy decluttering under lockdown and we’re really excited about receiving any donations. We’re now appealing for volunteers to help us turn these potential treasures into vital funds for life-saving work.”

Oxfam has 595 high street shops in the UK, which last year raised £17.4m after costs for its work.

St Barnabas Hospice has already announced its plans to reopen its charity shops. The Lincolnshire-based charity has 26 shops across the county, and since 2012, has sold 750,000 items with a turnover of £16,000,000 through these shops.

Its shops are due to remain closed until the end of June at the earliest. Once safe, there will be a phased reopening beginning with its Birchwood shop in Lincoln. Its house clearance and furniture collection service will also remain closed until the end of June.

Caroline Peach, Head of Retail at St Barnabas Hospice, said:

“We are busy sourcing additional PPE and perfecting safe donating and shopping procedures. This means that in the short term at least, our shops will seem very different to before. Everyone has been so patient, and we appreciate how supportive our customers are.

“Before we can open any of the shops, we need to reintroduce item donations at our warehouse in Lincoln. Plans are currently underway for a ‘Book and Bring’ Donation Drive-Thru at the warehouse on Cardinal Close, which we are really excited about. People will be able to book a time slot to bring their donations and our car park has a fantastic one-way system so supporters can essentially use it like a drive-thru.”

Other charities, including Barnardo’s, Cancer Research UK, and British Heart Foundation, have also said that they will start reopening this month with safety measures in place.

In England, non-essential retail stores, including charity shops, can reopen from 15 June providing proper safety measures are put in place in regards to Covid-19.

These include:

  • placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures
  • storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor
  • placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas
  • frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals

To help, the Charity Retail Association is running a series of reopening meetings for members over the coming weeks on a regional basis. More information and dates can be found on its site, along with a Reopening Pack with guidance for charities.


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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