Supporting resale during a pandemic | the ReFab Diaries

Before the madness of the pandemic had kicked in then, it was a common occurrence for families to
donate old and unused clothing (and other items) to charity shops. Now, though, with the prospect
of potentially transmitting the virus on surfaces there has been a hit to the number of donations
being made.

How Has the Pandemic Affected Charity Donations?

In the United Kingdom, non-essential businesses have been forced to clothes, which includes charity
shops, which has left families with items of clothing they no longer need without anywhere to
donate them. This, unfortunately, has resulted in many of these items which would have otherwise
been put to good use elsewhere being discarded and binned, thus increasing waste.

Why aren’t clothes shops classed as essential?

Clothes shops are not classed as being essential as they do not sell what is deemed to be essential
items (such as food). However, there are no restrictions on stores that do sell essential items from
also selling non-essential items (such as clothing), which is why supermarkets such as Tesco and
Morrisons are still allowed to sell clothing items in their stores.

This has, understandably, led to appeals – especially in the case of children’s clothing – for clothes
shops to be included as an essential business. After all, children can soon outgrow their clothing and
with a lack of options available, finding suitable clothing can be difficult. Not only that, but there are
also arguments that allowing supermarkets to sell clothes in their stores while designed clothing
retailers’ premises remained closed gives them an unfair advantage in the market.

Charity shops, which by and large stock clothing amongst other items, are closed as a result. Not
only can shoppers visit, but neither can they donate.


Have other forms of charity been affected?

Without question other forms of charity have been affected by the pandemic and not just because
many families have seen their incomes slashed. Charities that send support overseas will have been
impacted by travel bans, impeding on workers’ ability to reach those they are seeking to help.
This has also meant that charities have had to expend extra money on taking safety and hygiene
precautions, ensuring the safety of their workers as well as those they are trying to support. One
such example of this is the Muslim charity Orphans in Need, which issued a Personal Hygiene Grant
to its staff who work in their orphan homes.

At the beginning of the lockdown restrictions, many charities did report increased demand for their
services – especially those that offer mental health services and food banks. However, one in five
charities were concerned about a shortfall in cash donations as the population were urged to ditch
notes and coins in favour of cashless transaction to avoid unknowingly passing on the virus.

What the future holds

No one knows what the future holds, at least not in the short to medium term, as we are still
battling against the virus and waiting for the pandemic to subside. There will come a day when the
world will go back to normal and, hopefully, that will see the continuation of charitable donations –
perhaps even an acceleration.

Until then, instead of throwing out anything that we can donate we should continue to hold onto it
as someone will be able to get a use out of your old clothing and any other items you have that may
still be in good condition.

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