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.
Chanel fashion show in Manchester brought a staggering £8m boost to the city
The total value of the massive Chanel fashion show in Manchester has been revealed, along with that the amount it cost in public money.
Early analysis of the global event, which saw Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter shut down and turned into a runway, suggests it generated a whopping £8m impact for the local economy.
And it’s estimated that the value it’s had for the city overall through national and international media coverage will be worth at least £100m.
Chanel’s Metiers d’Art fashion show was held earlier this month and had the city in a flurry of excitement, with celebrities spotted including Hugh Grant, Tilda Swinton and Kristen Stewart.
They, along with names like Aitch, Bugzy Malone and Alexa Chung, were seen leaving fancy hotels and partying at venues like Salford Lad’s Club and Victoria Baths.
And now Marketing Manchester has valued the direct impact of the 600 Chanel guests and staff for the show to be worth £8m in direct income.
That includes staying in hotels for three to four days, spending in the local economy while they were here, and other expenditure like venue hire.
The Chanel show in Manchester is expected to attract even more investment, jobs and opportunities for Mancs too.
A main criticism of the show was how much it was costing the city to shut down one of its busiest streets for the week – the answer is nothing at all.
The council has confirmed that Chanel met all the associated costs, including cleaning, road closures, and recompensing the businesses affected by the event, with no cost to Manchester’s public purse.
In addition to that, 50 fashion students from Manchester Metropolitan University were invited to work backstage at the Chanel show, dressing models and supporting rehearsals.
Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig said: “The Chanel event is one of the highlights in the global fashion calendar and the choice of Manchester as the host city received international acclaim.
“But for us it was never about the glitz and glamour – events such as this help cement Manchester’s reputation on a global stage and come with both direct benefits, through the money spent within our economy while they are here but also indirect benefits by showcasing the city and helping to capture investment, jobs, visitors and attention, all of which open up opportunities for Manchester residents and communities.”
Victoria Braddock, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester, said: “The scale of the impact of the Chanel Métiers d’art show in Manchester will be felt for years to come.
“The global media coverage of the event has put a spotlight on Manchester and its rich heritage in textiles and home of iconic music, which will drive conversations about the city and bring new visitors.
“The £8m economic impact is a welcome boost across accommodation, restaurants, and attractions, and demonstrates the importance of global events in the city.”
Sarah Boyd, managing director of Sephora UK, said: “We are extremely excited to bring Sephora to Manchester, one of the most vibrant cities for beauty in the UK.
“Expanding our presence beyond London is something that consumers have been screaming out for, and we are listening hard to them when deciding where to go next.
“The Trafford Centre, known for its iconic atmosphere and diverse retail offering, is the perfect location for our third store.”
Russell Loveland, managing director at Pradera Lateral – Trafford Centre’s Asset Managers, said: “This iconic beauty giant already has a cult following, and our own social media has been blowing up with enquiries from excited customers eager for Sephora to open.
“We are very proud Sephora chose the Trafford Centre for its next location, which will be its first store in the North of England, and know it will be a fantastic success and a great addition to our strong international brand lineup.”
One person commented on Sephora’s Instagram post: “This is the best news I’ve heard all year!”
Another said: “OMG ITS HAPPENING, STAY CALM”
And someone wrote on Trafford Centre’s post: “Omg omg can’t wait.”