Mar 31, 2020
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Retail organisations to raise £10m to support shop workers

Mar 31, 2020

Retail organisations have joined forces to raise £10 million for shop workers facing financial distress as a result of the coronavirus shutdown.

The initiative is being led by RetailTrust, RWRC and the British Retail Consortium in light of the current extraordinary circumstances.

An online fundraising campaign has been set up on Justgiving.com asking people to donate money to support thousands of people working in retail. The campaign, ‘CaRe 20 – Caring for Retail during Covid-19’, will provide financial, emotional, physical and vocational support through a host of initiatives.

“There has never been a more important time for us all to support one another. The retail industry is facing its biggest challenge in decades with many colleagues under enormous emotional and financial strain. Supporting the wellbeing of those in the front line is essential,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium.

The money raised will be used to create financial grants to assist with food, essential bills, childcare and other necessities, offer telephone and online counselling to help those with stress and anxiety, and retrain those facing redundancy.

Those working across retail’s supporting industries, including the food distribution, pharmaceutical and medical supply sectors, will also have access to the funds. 

The organisations noted that while many workers in the food sector are making huge sacrifices to keep shelves stacked and customers serviced, many in retail are being made redundant, put on unpaid leave, or are self-isolating themselves or with their families, unable to work.

The government's financial package for those furloughed employees who cannot work has been deemed an “excellent” initiative, but not enough to solve the real problems.

Chris Brook-Carter, incoming RetailTrust chief executive, said: “We have seen from the start of this crisis that retail and the millions of colleagues who work in the sector will be critical in the UK’s response to Covid-19. However, what is also apparent is the damage it can do to so many households – financially, physically and mentally – who rely on retail for their incomes. 

“This appeal has the capacity to support the many colleagues who are ensuring vital stores and supply chains are kept open over coming weeks, whilst also acting as a safety net for those who are now facing financial and psychological distress as a result of a loss of income.”

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