Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Michelle Gildernew MLA demonstrates support for #MoreThanAShop campaign at Stormont event

Published: 20 October, 2016

Michelle Gildernew MLA and the Charity Retail Association's Chief Executive, Robin Osterley at the launch.

Michelle Gildernew MLA and the Charity Retail Association's Chief Executive, Robin Osterley at the launch.

This week, Michelle Gildernew MLA demonstrated her support for charity shops in Fermanagh and South Tyrone by attending a unique event at the Assembly in Stormont.

At the event, which was organised and hosted by the #MoreThanAShop coalition of local charity organisations, Michelle learned about the huge contribution that charity shops make to the North in five key areas:

1. Funds - Every year the charity retail sector raises around £10.5m for good causes in the North including; tackling poverty; funding world leading medical research; and running local hospices.

2. Recycling - In 2015 charity shops in the North diverted over 21,000 tonnes of textile from landfill, saving local authorities very significant sums in landfill tax.

3. Volunteers - The charity shop sector provides volunteering opportunities for over 5,400 people in in the North every year, helping young people gain vital employability skills and older people to combat social isolation.

4. Footfall - Charity shops help attract visitors to the high street even during tough times like the recent economic downturn. 80 per cent of charity shops in the North report a positive or good relationship with local businesses and commercial retailers.

5. Stock - Charity shops in the North provide good quality products to local people at a price which represents excellent value for money.

Michelle Gildernew MLA was also given a demonstration of the Charity Retail Association's innovative new "Social Value Toolkit".

Until now charity shops have never had a way to measure the positive impact they leave on their local economy, environment and society. The Toolkit allows them, for the first time to quantify this impact, in areas such recycling, volunteering and attracting footfall to the high street.

Michelle Gildernew MLA said:

"I am delighted to support the #MoreThanAShop campaign because I know that charity shops are much more than simply places to raise money for good causes.

"They provide a huge pool of volunteering opportunities, bring footfall to the high street, and reuse or recycle thousands of tonnes of materials which would otherwise find their way into landfill.

I hope local charity shops in my own constituency will use the new Social Value Toolkit to measure their own contribution to this fantastic work." - Críoch/Ends

Notes for Editors:

There are 13 charities currently supporting the #MoreThanAShop campaign: Action Cancer, Age NI, British Red Cross, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Focus NI, Cancer Research UK, Concern Worldwide, East Belfast Mission, Marie Curie, NI Hospice, Oxfam Ireland, Save the Children and War on Want NI.

The campaign is also supported by the Charity Retail Association and the Community and Voluntary Association (NICVA). Read more about the Social Value Toolkit here: https://socialvaluetoolkit.org/