Most industries have been hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – with thousands of businesses mothballing and many others shutting down for good.
But one of the sectors that’s suffered the most – yet rarely talked about – is Manchester’s charity shops.
Rolling nationwide closures and changing legislation made traditional fundraising increasingly, as footfall in charity stores fell dramatically throughout 2020.
With a third national lockdown now in force, Manchester’s local charity venues have been forced to get creative in order to stay afloat.
RSPCA Manchester & Salford is a perfect case in point.
This animal care organisation overcame the closure of their physical store by launching Chapter Six – an online platform that offers a new way to shop from a local charity.
“We have always dreamed of having an online presence for our retail side,” says the charity.
“With reduced footfall in our charity shops due to COVID-19 restrictions we have finally been able to dedicate time and resources to making this dream a reality.”
There are some absolute bargains available on the site, too, including products from household names such as Next, Monsoon and Zara, just to name a few.
It’s a platform that lets you fuel your love of sustainable fashion while raising funds to rehabilitate animals. Ideal.
As RSPCA Manchester & Salford rightly said: “Where else can you buy a dress and know that the proceeds will buy food for an animal in need?”
While this website was launched as an alternative to the physical charity shop experience, it has actually been a creative and successful way to raise money for rehabilitating animals.
“Having our own website gives us a great opportunity to reach more people, and it cuts out any fees paid to third party selling sites that we’ve used in the past,” said the RSPCA team.
“This means that 100% of the money we make goes directly towards the rehabilitation and rehoming of animals in our care!”
Another local charity that has been forced to adopt new methods during the pandemic is Barnardo’s Vintage in Cheadle – the charity’s only vintage and retro shop.
Despite not having an online platform or postal service available to them, the store has continued to use their social media to promote sustainable style during the lockdown.
“We set up a photo shoot … so customers could see how vintage pieces could work with their high street capsule wardrobes”, says Gemma, the manager of Barnardo’s Vintage.
Although this has helped to raise awareness for the charity and its vintage finds, the combination of the store being closed and the loss of footfall from the usually bustling high street has been incredibly difficult.
Every charity is feeling the pinch – and the sector needs all the help it can get.
“In all honesty, our charity is struggling to keep its head above water”, says a representative for RSPCA Manchester & Salford, who reported that they ran at a loss of £50K, despite receiving help from the government.
“The fundraising the shops do is vital in keeping our animal centre up and running, and if things continue as they are we don’t know where we’ll be this time next year.
“This is why it’s so important that people continue to spend money with their chosen charity online, or that they donate through any fundraising pages the charities have set up.”
You can visit the likes of RSPCA and Barnado’s online and make a donation to help. Every penny makes a difference.
Manchester dentist loved by celebs is knocking £1000 off popular Invisalign treatment
A luxury dentist in Manchester is offering Invisalign treatment with a massive saving this month.
Ruh Dental, which counts the likes of Molly-Mae Hague and Helen Flanagan as patients, will be offering packages with more than £1000-worth of savings.
The special offer is part of the boutique dental practice’s Invisalign Open Week, with discounts on the hugely popular clear brace system which straightens teeth discreetly.
Most cases are able to be completed within six months, with noticeable differences in just three months.
Invisalign can close gaps, and fix overbites and misaligned teeth with less clinic visits than traditional ‘train track’ braces.
Anyone who books in for a consultation and takes up treatment during Invisalign Open Week will save over £1000, thanks to a free consultation (worth £75), free 3D digital scan and simulation of your teeth (worth £300), £400 off aligners, free Vivera Retainers worth £500, and free teeth whitening worth £175.
The open week will run between 29 March and 5 April, with the offer valid for five days after the consultation.
Ruh Dental is based in the heart of Spinningfields and is trusted by the likes of Jill Scott, Helen Flanagan and Olivia Attwood.
The private practice has no waiting lists, with patients seen ASAP, and focuses on restorative and cosmetic procedures.
Its dental team is led by the award-winning Dr Billal Arshad, an expert in his field who trains colleagues nationally and internationally and is famed for his attention to detail and artistic flair.
Another Ruh Dental deal currently running is a Mother’s Day offer, where you can claim a free afternoon tea at The Ivy and a free hygiene appointment when you refer your mum for an appointment with Dr Arshad.
Trafford Centre’s new interactive ‘Wonderwall’ experience helps you style your home
The Trafford Centre has come up with a novel way to design your home with their exciting new ‘Wonderwall’ experience.
On until Sunday, 26 February, the fully interactive Wonderwall is a fun new touchscreen approach to styling your home and selecting fine new furnishings, featuring furniture and homeware items from various Trafford Centre retailers.
Doing up your gaff can be a fun but often stressful and challenging task, with the sheer amount of choice sometimes feeling overwhelming and the notion of making appointments with a stylist or a full day of shopping around is simply too much faff when you’re trying to get on with everyday life.
That’s where the Wonderwall comes in: not only do you get to create your own mood board on the fly with countless top-quality items from the likes of John Lewis, H&M, Selfridges, Next and more, but you also get on-the-go styling advice as you build out the look for each of your rooms.
Moreover, you never have to risk that dreaded scenario of your order turning up and being nothing like you expected or it was advertised online, as the best part is you can literally go and look, feel and test every piece you pick from the shops within the Trafford Centre.
Better still, if you sign-up to become a Pulse member — TC’s dedicated loyalty which provides you early and exclusive news, perks and events from all of their retailers — you can win yourself a limited-time only gift card to put towards styling your home.
All you have to do is sign-up by joining the WiFi when you’re there. Happy days.
Last but not least, with less than a week left of half-term, not only is the Trafford Centre the perfect place to take the kids but the Wonderwall can also help keep them occupied as well as get them involved in the redesign.