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Charity shops generated £75.3bn in social value in 2022, study finds

Charity shops have a huge positive impact on people’s wellbeing, a report commissioned by the Charity Retail Association has found, generating £75.3 billion of social value in 2022.

The Social Return on Investment (SROI) report, ‘The Value of Giving Back – The Social Return of Charity Shops’ looks at the social value generated by UK charity shops and the benefits they bring to customers, staff, volunteers, and donors. To measure this, it uses the 8 principles of social value and the SROI framework published by the UK Cabinet Office.

The report links 49% of the £75.3 billion in social value to giving back to others or the planet, while 29% is about a sense of community and being met with friendliness and compassion in charity shops. On top of funds raised for charities, it says every pound spent on operating charity shops generates an additional £7.35 in social value.

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Giving back to others, doing something good for the planet and opportunities to socialise were among the top responses people gave when asked what charity shops mean to them.

Top outcomes

The top three outcomes generating the highest social value per stakeholder group were:

Staff

Volunteers

Customers and donors

‘The Value of Giving Back – The Social Return of Charity Shops’ report is the first to investigate the value charity shops have to society beyond the money they raise, the Charity Retail Association says.

Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association, said:

“It’s well known that charity shops are fantastic places to find affordable clothing and homeware, but this report has allowed us to dig deeper into the impact that charity shops also have on people’s wellbeing and the importance of charity shops to communities. The report has been an opportunity to showcase the ways in which working, volunteering, shopping in or donating to charity shops can really make a difference to people’s lives and how they see themselves.

 

“Charity shops are at the heart of their local communities and occupy a special place on high streets across the country. It has been very rewarding to gain more insight into the positive impact they have and find out more about why they are so valued by the people that engage with them.

 

“We hope that the findings of ‘The Value of Giving Back – The Social Return of Charity Shops’ report will provide a useful insight for charities, as well as establish recognition of the incredibly important, varied and beneficial role charity shops play in our society.”

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