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Hospice of St Francis wins Charity Retail Award’s first Social Value Award

2024's Charity Retail Award winners
2024’s Charity Retail Award winners

The new Social Value award was created to celebrate the social value generated by charity shops in their local communities. It follows the 2023 publication of a Social Return on Investment (SROI) report commissioned by the CRA, which found that charity shops have a positive impact on wellbeing valued at £75.3 billion.

The Hospice of St Francis won the award with its range of initiatives designed to benefit people in its local communities, including the introduction of designated ‘safe spaces’ to support community-wide initiatives, such as a hosting a dementia café in one of the charity’s shops, as well as a regular programme of free events, including children’s story time, craft classes, a chess club, book signings, a diversity book club and a poetry club. Their community bookshop was also a key initiator of a local literary festival.

Using the Charity Retail Association’s SROI toolkit, the charity calculated that its shops had generated £13.34 of social value for every £1 invested; 81% higher than the national average.


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Volunteers & CEO celebrated

Other 2024 Charity Retail Award winners include Lottie O’Connor, a volunteer at Cancer Research UK, who won the Young Volunteer of the Year award. The 23-year-old was nominated by the team at Cancer Research UK’s shop in Ilkley, West Yorkshire for her work in styling outfits and displays in the shop, and building her confidence and skills since she started volunteering there in 2019.

Myrna Philpott was named Volunteer of the Year for her two decades of dedication to Tenovus Cancer Care’s shop in Cardigan, Wales. During her time volunteering at the Cardigan shop, 89-year-old Myrna has given more than 15,000 voluntary hours to the charity, as well as participating in a Zipwire challenge in 2022 which raised over £900 for Tenovus Cancer Care. She also runs her own donation centre in her local community, which Tenovus Cancer Care estimates has helped the shop raise more than £28,000 through the sale of these goods over the years.

The Most Supportive Chief Executive was Mark Russell of The Children’s Society. He was nominated by his team for his hands-on approach to the role, frequently visiting as many of the charity’s shops as he can and described as ‘flying the flag for retail at every opportunity’. He was also praised for his dedication to promoting and engaging with the retail arm of the charity, particularly during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Outstanding charity retailer, and campaign of the year

This year’s Outstanding Charity Retailer of the Year award was presented to Salvation Army Trading Company, whose charity shops achieved their highest trading results in the past year, contributing £11.5mn to their parent charity.

British Heart Foundation won Campaign of the Year for its volunteering campaign, which saw a 10% uplift in volunteering hours, particularly increased by 16-24-year-old volunteers.

Shelter wins EDI award

Shelter once again won the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion award for its introduction of new policies; including realigning pay in its operational service and retail areas to improve the position of staff on the lowest incomes, providing in-depth, tailored, retail-specific EDI training to retail teams and the use of blind recruitment with the view to removing unconscious bias, eliminating discrimination, and increasing diversity.

Pilgrims Hospices Canterbury; and Devon Air Ambulance, Barnstaple, were named winners of the WOW! Factor Awards, sponsored by ELT Global, for Best Shop Window and Best Shop Interior respectively.

25th anniversary celebration cake for the Charity Retail Association

This year’s Charity Retail Awards took place during the Charity Retail Conference, which took place on 26 and 27 June, and saw more than 390 charity representatives attend, with a programme of workshops and sessions, as well as the annual Awards. The event also celebrated the Charity Retail Association’s 25th anniversary.

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

“This year’s Charity Retail Conference has been a great opportunity to celebrate both the numerous successes of charity retailers, their staff and volunteers over the past year, and to look back on the way charity shops have progressed and diversified over the past 25 years, whilst maintaining the strong community and people-focused ethos that makes our sector so unique and popular. This is an incredibly exciting year for the charity retail sector, including the recent incredibly successful launch of our new UK’s Favourite Charity Shop Award, and it’s been fantastic to see so many people attending Conference this year to show their support for charity shops and to help facilitate continued growth in the sector.”