Age UK has launched its first-ever year-long stock appeal to boost donations to its network of charity shops and raise much-needed funds to provide vital support to older people across the UK.
The 2022 Challenge will run across the duration of 2022 and aims to help Age UK’s charity shops receive a target of at least 2.2 million bags of donations by the end of the year. The challenge has been put together to help Age UK’s retail estate become self-sufficient when collecting stock and improve overall sustainability. The Charity also aims to return to the record donations experienced following the shops reopening after the Covid-19 lockdowns, which saw numbers of donations that were more than 35% higher than pre-lockdown levels.
Despite these record numbers immediately after the shops reopening, overall donations reduced over 2020 and 2021, largely due to a number of Age UK shops being closed due to the effects of the pandemic. This resulted in a 20% reduction in the numbers of bags donated in 2021 compared to 2019, when we were delighted to receive 2,034,908 bags in total. By extending the total target for 2022, the Charity hopes to place the Age UK retail estate in a better position than before the pandemic.
Age UK will turn every bag into bags more support for older people. All Items are sold on to be loved again, with funds raised going towards vital services such as Age UK’s free national Advice Line and Telephone Friendship Services.
The campaign will be heavily promoted in Age UK’s charity shops with point-of-sale materials including posters and thermometer trackers to review how many bags have been collected nationally, and staff and volunteers will be encouraging shop visitors to take part in the challenge. The Charity will also be supporting the appeal with a range of activity designed to keep the 2022 Challenge front-of-mind throughout the year, including digital and social media activity, as well as targeted PR and marketing, and support from some of Age UK’s celebrity ambassadors.
As well as the pandemic acting as a catalyst for people to have a clear out and donate their unwanted items to charity shops, the effects of Covid-19 also saw a heightened demand for support. Older people have been hit particularly hard by the ongoing effects of the pandemic, with many also dealing with difficulties such as unmet care needs, chronic ill health, disability, and loneliness. Age UK’s national and local services have been a lifeline for thousands of older people and continue to be more in demand than ever before, meaning that funds are urgently needed so that the Charity can continue its work.
Nick Smith, Director of Retail at Age UK, said: “After a difficult couple of years, Age UK urgently needs to raise funds so it can continue its vital work supporting older people who have been affected by the pandemic. So we are excited to be launching our first-ever year-long retail campaign to boost stock generation and are on mission to collect more donation bags in 2022 than ever before.
“Our retail operations fundamentally changed during lockdown, with the removal of both internal and external stock collections, and by launching the 2022 Challenge, this will help us promote the growth of donations from our customers, local businesses, educational establishments, existing donors and the local community. The 2022 Challenge calls on everyone to donate at least two bags of unwanted, quality items to one of our many charity shops to help us reach our target of 2.2 million bags by the end of this year. As well as doing your bit for the environment by supporting the ‘recycle, reuse and reduce movement’, you will be helping Age UK – we’ll turn every bag into support for older people in the local community and across the UK.”
Age UK is also encouraging the public to make their donations worth an extra 25% for the Charity by signing up to Gift Aid when they make a donation. Age UK has over 250 shops across the UK, which are reliant on the generous donations of the local community to keep the shelves stocked and supported by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers. To find your nearest Age UK shop visit www.ageuk.org.uk/shops To find out more about the 2022 Challenge: www.ageuk.org.uk/shops