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Older volunteers are being pushed out of charity shops thanks to the pandemic

By Siobhán Kelly, PhD Candidate, University of Salford
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Charity shops are part of the rhythm of everyday life: vibrant social hubs where people can work, volunteer, donate and spend.

Older people make up the fabric of charity retailing. Their experiences, skills and knowledge are built into the foundations of these shops. The sector has an established role among this group – it has long been associated with the stereotype of the “post-retirement” volunteer – the older woman selflessly giving up her time to “do good”. Years ago, charity shops were run and managed on a purely voluntary basis, staffed almost entirely by older people.

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