After a successful trial, the British Heart Foundation is to go ahead and reopen 395 of its charity shops this week followed by a further 299 next week.
The charity had planned a more phased reopening to ensure it could create a safe working environment for its staff and 17,000 volunteers, many of whom are living with heart and circulatory diseases.
However, due to the success of its trial of over 40 shops, BHF has accelerated its plans.
It is urging the public to support it by donating good quality items, or visiting to make a purchase to help it in its recovery from the crisis, which it predicts will cut its net income in half for 2020 and means it may have to cut research spending by half this year.
The temporary closure of the BHF’s 750 shops has seen
All BHF shops and stores will have new measures in place to keep staff, volunteers and customers safe. This includes social distancing on the shop floor, protective equipment for staff and volunteers, and
All donations will now be rested for 72 hours before being placed on the shop floor. Customers will also be able to donate at new contact-free donation points set up at every BHF shop entrance.
For larger donations to BHF home stores, donors will be able to book a free collection service online from Monday 27 July. All pick-ups will be contact-free. For smaller donations, the BHF has launched a postal donation service.
As well as reopening its shops, BHF has joined with other medical research charities to call on the Government to match charity-funded research for the next three to five years to ensure the pace of progress can be maintained.
Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:
“Our shops fund a huge proportion of UK cardiovascular research, so the reopening of doors is welcomed news for thousands of scientists and millions of people with heart and circulatory diseases, as well as our shoppers. This moment was difficult to imagine just a few weeks ago, and its testament to the incredible commitment of our BHF team of colleagues and volunteers that we’ll be trading in every corner of the country within two weeks.
“But the coronavirus crisis will unfortunately have a long-lasting and devastating impact on charities like ours, with our funding for new research falling by a shocking £50m this year alone. That’s why, not only do we need urgent help from our loyal supporters, we’re also urging the Government to ensure funding for vital research charities. For us, it will mean we can protect the progress we have made so far and continue to transform the lives of those with heart and circulatory diseases. It’s ultimately patients who will suffer if this doesn’t happen.”
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