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Mental health charity predicts £1.5m retail loss due to lockdowns

Saleha Riaz
·2-min read
Mind counts on the money made from these shops to help it run its helpline as well as produce information and advice. Photo: Getty Images
Mind counts on the money made from these shops to help it run its helpline as well as produce information and advice. Photo: Getty Images

Mental health charity Mind said it has predicted the closures of its shops in England and Wales due to lockdowns will cause it to lose £1.5m ($2m) in the run up to Christmas.

The lockdowns, part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, forced the charity to close its 166 shops for over four months. The pre-Christmas period (November and December) makes up around 20% its retail profit for the year.

“One month of shop closures, following a difficult year for retailers, has left us with a predicted loss of £1.5m in sales, and an actual loss of £400,000 in November,” it said.

“Despite efforts to move stock online, the closures are making it difficult to raise money to provide mental health support to the growing number of people in need,” it added.

This comes at a time when it is warning of a ‘second pandemic’ of mental health problems, with calls to its helpline doubling in October, reaching up to 500 calls a day.

It said it is taking advantage of the government’s job retention scheme, but is struggling because it is topping up staff income to their full salary, and continues to pay shop rents.

READ MORE: Charity donations drop by £140m a month

Mind counts on the money made from these shops to help it run its helping and produce information and advice, including around the coronavirus pandemic.

Mind is working on new methods to engage customers. One of them is an online Christmas auction for which TV and radio presenter Fearne Cotton has donated a selection of pre-loved items.

These include a Phillip Lim dress for £50, Sarah Jessica Parker satin shoes for £75, a Diane von Furstenburg dress for £100 and a Kenzo jumpsuit for £150.

They are available online from 1 December until 10 December.

Cotton said that the closure of Mind’s shops “has made it really hard for the charity to raise the money needed to provide information and services to millions of people, and at a time when more of us are struggling with our mental health.”

Fearne has been a Mind ambassador since 2017.

It was reported last week that many charities could be facing closure in the upcoming months, as the COVID-19 pandemic has seen donations fall by an estimated £140m a month.

About 28% of people have cut their donations to charities since the start of the coronavirus crisis, compared to just 5% that have increased them, according to a survey of 1,000 UK adults by IT company DSA Connect.

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