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I met with representatives of the Charity Retail Association – Chief Executive Richard Osterley and Susan Meredith, Deputy Chief Executive (pictured below) - to find out more about the work charity shops are doing to support their local communities.

The charity retail sector is a really important driving force in encouraging people to shop sustainably and choose to reuse and it’s something that I’m proud to be supporting. This retail sector keeps more than 339,000 tonnes of textiles from being disposed of each year. I know that in North Ayrshire & Arran constituency, charity shops are at the heart of the community; boosting the local economy and creating jobs, as well as offering a place where people can come together.

What is clear is that it’s the people who make charity shops so popular – with around 10,200 charity shops across the UK – from the staff and army of volunteers who make the shops such welcoming places to be, to the donors and customers who support the charities. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and effort in making charities shops succeed. Most recent figures show that charity shops employ more than 26,800 FTE employees, supported by more than 186,800 volunteers.

Charity shops have shown their resilience in the huge challenges they’ve faced over the past few years and are now continuing to thrive and attract new customers. The importance of the role charity shops play in society cannot be understated – they occupy a prominent and exceptional place in the retail landscape and it’s exciting to see the sector adapting to meet the needs of their customers; from opening new superstores to embracing social media trends.

These shops offer a completely unique shopping experience which couldn’t happen without the effort and dedication of the thousands of volunteers and staff who work every day to raise money for good causes – raising £363m for their parent charities last year alone - and give their time to make their charity shops a success.

In North Ayrshire alone, there are around 25 charity shops with 45 full time equivalent jobs in charity retail and 500 people who volunteer in this sector.

Find out more about charity shops and your nearest stores at


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