Charity shops, an essential service
SVP Shops are the driving force supporting local Conferences and social projects of the SSVP Ireland.
The SSVP Ireland has 234 charity shops across the country which, due to the lockdown, have been virtually closed since Christmas. This has led to a fall in the SSVP’s income of over 16 million euros.
The SSVP has requested the government to regard charity shops as an essential service, since they provide major assistance to the people most in need in their country. Moreover, opening up, it is believed, would reduce traffic movement, since the majority of their customer base is in a catchment area of 5km, mainly in areas of social deprivation and rural isolation.
Since the second wave, the charity shops were operating on the Click & Collect system: customers requesting items on-line and picking them up at the shop. Nonetheless, on-line purchases are not an option for many customers, without access to debit/credit cards, or the technology needed to place orders. Moreover, the recent change from “Click and Collect” to “Click and Delivery” prevents these shops from offering any kind of on-line service, since local volunteer organisations cannot opt for sophisticated e-commerce solutions on which conventional retail business relies.
The Irish Vincentians are launching a social awareness-raising campaign, thus reiterating their request that charity shops should be included as an essential service, and strengthening the support they offer in these difficult times.