Isolation diary: Supporting charity shops

The best way to support charity shops at the moment is to store your donations at home. Many of us have been using this time to sort out our cupboards and wardrobes, putting together bags of clothes and other items to go to a local charity shop.

I have been hearing that thoughtless people have been leaving lots of binbags outside charity shops during lockdown. The grim truth is that most of those ‘donations’ will end up in landfill, at the charities’ expense. The shop volunteers haven’t been able to handle, clean or store the items, which will now be contaminated by rats and other animals. The charities will have to pay to have the items removed.

There are over 11,000 charity shops in the UK and they make such an important contribution to the community and to the environment. Charity shops reduce the overall consumption of goods by giving them a longer life, they offer low-cost items to those who can’t afford much, and they raise funds for good causes. They are an important element in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle chain – it’s a win-win-win situation.

Charity shops are also an indicator of the levels of deprivation in a community. Too many on a High Street can signal its decline. But one or two in a shopping parade can not only meet the needs of the community but can also help to sustain the local micro-economy.

The good news is that charity shops can re-open on 15th June, provided of course that they can meet the social distancing and hygiene requirements. It appears they are worried that they will be overwhelmed with donations when they do open. All donations will have to be quarantined for 3 days before they can be sold. They will also need to recruit more volunteers, because a number of their regular volunteers will be shielding or in self-isolation.

So let’s support our local charity shops by holding on to our bags until the shops indicate that they are ready to take donations again.






Please note

We have been in full self-isolation since 16th March to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.

You can find my previous Isolation diaries here.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • I will always remember organising jumble sales. The amount of good stuff people would throw away.

  • Suzanne Fletcher 30th May '20 - 9:54am

    Some charities that have the space are offering to collect. Our local air ambulance which we support is, so maybe worth having a look on the internet for likely ones. Gives them a chance to sort ready fir sale when they open.
    I know Lib Dems are good people but please please only donate items that are fit for sale and somebody else really might want to buy. Is clean and not needing mending.

  • Richard Underhill 31st May '20 - 12:32pm

    Suzanne Fletcher 30th May ’20 – 9:54am
    We checked by ‘phone that vacuum cleaners were acceptable, and took in two, but they were dumped by the manageress in a skip out the back, without explanation.

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