The Government has announced that from the 15th June, non-essential shops will be able to re-open in the UK, and that includes charity shops. We want to update you on what will be happening at TRAID.

As the implications for public health due to the coronavirus crisis became ever clearer, TRAID shut our doors before the government announcement in March to protect our staff and customers. Since then, nearly all our team has been furloughed, with a small logistics team in place collecting from our textile recycling banks to support councils and households to reuse clothing.

The team has also been planning what measures we will need to take to keep our customers and staff safe as the lock down lifts. We are very aware that there is a lot of uncertainty, mixed messages and fear out there about how to shop safely and maintain social distancing.

TRAID implemented a phased reopening starting with four of our most spacious charity shops – Dalston, Kilburn, Peckham and Shepherd’s Bush. We have used this time to ensure the measures we have put in place are working which includes closing changing rooms, social distancing signage, providing personal protective equipment, regular cleaning especially of all high contact areas such as door handles and surfaces, protected till areas and hand sanitiser for staff and customers.

The rest of our shops – Brixton, Camden, Clapham, Hammersmith, Harrow, Lewisham, Westbourne Grove and Wood Green – will re-open by Friday 3rd July. See here for more information.

TRAID will also be following the Charity Retail Association’s recommendation to quarantine donations for 72-hours before they are put on the shop floor. Fortunately, TRAID’s warehouse and sorting operations means we have the space to facilitate this safely and easily. We will also be watching closely for any further guidance which may be issued by the Government in the coming weeks.

One of the biggest changes in our charity shops, and across all high-street retail, will also be psychological as our customers may well need to queue to access our shops when they are busy.

During lock-down, most of us have had to wait to get into a supermarket for example, and while it can be frustrating, shopping in places which take social distancing seriously demonstrates which retailers are prioritising the health of staff, customers and the wider community, and helps us to feel safe and protected. This is TRAID’s number one priority.

Finally, we anticipate that charity shops will have a more important role than ever – stocking our high streets with affordable secondhand clothes while funding a myriad of causes locally, nationally and globally which will be more needed that ever in the wake of this pandemic

We look forward to welcoming you safely back into TRAID’s charity shop.