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Opening a charity shop for Dementia Sufferers

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raspberry_sorbet
raspberry_sorbet Posts: 5 Forumite
edited 8 September 2017 at 3:11PM in Charities
Hi Everyone

I need a little bit of advice.

I would like to open a charity shop in my local area to help those with mental health issues, especially Dementia.

I have a few questions though.

1) Can I open a charity shop and then give the earnings to ANOTHER charity that helps people with dementia and mental health issues?

2) I know I have to register with the charity commission before opening a charity shop. But they say you (as in the charity) need to be earning £5,000 to register. Does this include actually making £5,000 or can you say that you are likely to make this amount once open over a certain period of time?

Many Thanks in advance.
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  • raspberry_sorbet
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    Also, does anybody know what charity structure a charity shop would need or be more suited to?
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,196 Forumite
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    May I commend to you the Charity Retail Association ...

    And you may also want to find your local Voluntary Services Council, which may be called something quite different - google Volunteer plus your city / town / county.
    I need a little bit of advice.
    I suspect more than a little ...
    I would like to open a charity shop in my local area to help those with mental health issues, especially Dementia.

    I have a few questions though.

    1) Can I open a charity shop and then give the earnings to ANOTHER charity that helps people with dementia and mental health issues?
    Before you use a charity's name in fundraising you should get their permission, and they should then be able to give you some help with branding / advertising etc.

    It gets more complicated if you want to support more than one charity.
    2) I know I have to register with the charity commission before opening a charity shop. But they say you (as in the charity) need to be earning £5,000 to register. Does this include actually making £5,000 or can you say that you are likely to make this amount once open over a certain period of time?
    I believe you have to have made your first £5000 (or had it donated) before you can register, but I have to question whether starting a new charity to run a single charity shop which will then support other charities is the way to go.

    Does the charity you want to support already have charity shops? If not, would they wish to open one in your area?
    Also, does anybody know what charity structure a charity shop would need or be more suited to?
    There's no simple answer to that. The 'big' charity shop chains might have a 'trading arm' which is separate from 'the charity'. Many charities are companies limited by guarantee as well as registered charities, which protects those involved in running them from being personally liable if it all goes belly up. There are other - newer - legal forms I know nothing about.

    You're going to need a team of people to help you get this set up. You're going to need money up front for leasing a suitable shop. You're going to need to know about Health and Safety, Employment legislation, contracts for utilities ... can't think of more right now, but there is An Awful Lot to think about ...
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • raspberry_sorbet
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    I have already rang up the charity commission who have stated in an automated message that they do not give any advice.

    I don't want to volunteer in a charity shop as I've already done this for over a year. So know must of the health and safety stuff.

    I also don't want to use another charity shops name. The idea was to set up my own charity, using a name I chose for it. Then the profits would be distributed between several other charities in the local area, say mental health groups etc..

    As for the £5000 would this count if i was to say get a loan or grant or something? or does it defintley have to come from fundraising or a donation?
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,196 Forumite
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    It's true the Charity Commission don't give advice, but that doesn't mean advice isn't available. I've already recommended your local VSC, whatever it's called, as you may be able to access both general advice, and some pro bono legal advice. You're definitely going to need legal advice before signing a lease on a shop.

    I'm fairly sure a grant would do the job. I wouldn't recommend a loan, even if that was adequate. I suspect £5000 is going to go absolutely nowhere in terms of setting up a charity shop. But the Charity Retail Association (not the Charity Commission) would know better than me.

    But I'd re-iterate my point that if you are using another charity's name, you need their permission. And what you describe does sound like using another charity's name. Either that or you'd be being very vague.

    For example, let's say you set up the Raspberry Sorbet Charity, running the Raspberry Sorbet Charity Shop. Your charitable aims include "to raise money to give to various local charities".

    For example:

    I'm a keen charity shopper. I've never heard of the RS Charity (unsurprisingly), and I want to know what you do. You tell me the above. I want to know which charities. Maybe you don't want to tell me, because you haven't decided yet. That makes me unsure about supporting your charity, because I can't be sure I'm happy about which charities you're supporting. On a cynical day, I might even wonder whether you're actually supporting charities at all - and yes we have had questions on here about people / groups claiming to be charities but unable to provide any proof.

    Or, you DO tell me which charities you're supporting, let's say it's called "Happy Days". And as it happens, I'm a keen supporter, actually volunteering in the Head Office. I go in and gush about how wonderful this new RS Charity is, and isn't it great that they are supporting "Happy Days", and what a shame there isn't any of 'our' literature in there. And a Trustee hears, and says "WHAT? First we've heard about that."

    You might wonder why they wouldn't be thrilled, and it's too late at night for me to go into that.
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  • Rolandtheroadie
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    My mother is chairperson of a local charity shop.
    They don't have a name that is linked to any charity.
    They redistribute the money raised, to local hospices and other local charities that give support and assistance to people with life limiting illnesses.
    I've heard her mention before that they get a lot of help from a place called Alvo, which has included help with applying for grants and the likes. Grants have covered things like installing central heating, repairs to the shop and other things.
    Although Alvo may not cover where you are, there's likely to be something similar that does. Perhaps even contact Alvo to ask.
  • fraserbooks
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    I would also query if the charities you wish to help have their own shops in the locality you might find your shop takes funds away from them. You need to treat it as a small business and work out your costs very carefully especially if you intend to pay yourself a wage .

    Even professionally run shops from well known and respected charities have difficulty making large sums of money. A registered charity must have trustees who do not profit financially from that charity so you can't run the charity and pay yourself a wage.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,196 Forumite
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    this morning I managed to ask DH about his experience in this area: he used to work for a charity which partnered with another charity to start initially one charity shop which would raise funds for both charities. However, the charity shops (there are now 3 or 4) are not themselves a registered charity - and that is OK because they are not describing themselves as a registered charity.

    It took months to find suitable premises and negotiate the lease.

    they used a paid consultant who had a great deal of experience in setting up and running charity shops.

    They had a ready stream of volunteers who needed work experience and were keen to 'give back' to the two charities who were involved.

    Some years later, not all of the sites opened have worked out, so some have closed. And the shops have now been sold to a single charity - I am not clear if the original charities are going to continue to benefit from the profits, or if it's just become too difficult to sustain the ongoing relationship with two charities.

    It is definitely quite a complicated operation ...
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,196 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
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    My mother is chairperson of a local charity shop.
    They don't have a name that is linked to any charity.
    They redistribute the money raised, to local hospices and other local charities that give support and assistance to people with life limiting illnesses.
    Are they actually a registered charity? And is it always the same charities which are supported, so that it is clear to shoppers where the support is going?
    My mother is chairperson of a local charity shop.
    They don't have a name that is linked to any charity.
    They redistribute the money raised, to local hospices and other local charities that give support and assistance to people with life limiting illnesses.
    I've heard her mention before that they get a lot of help from a place called Alvo, which has included help with applying for grants and the likes. Grants have covered things like installing central heating, repairs to the shop and other things.
    Although Alvo may not cover where you are, there's likely to be something similar that does. Perhaps even contact Alvo to ask.
    ALVO appears to be the voluntary services council for Lanark. There will be something similar near where the OP lives. They will be invaluable ...
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • raspberry_sorbet
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    Savvy_Sue wrote: »
    It's true the Charity Commission don't give advice, but that doesn't mean advice isn't available. I've already recommended your local VSC, whatever it's called, as you may be able to access both general advice, and some pro bono legal advice. You're definitely going to need legal advice before signing a lease on a shop.

    I'm fairly sure a grant would do the job. I wouldn't recommend a loan, even if that was adequate. I suspect £5000 is going to go absolutely nowhere in terms of setting up a charity shop. But the Charity Retail Association (not the Charity Commission) would know better than me.

    But I'd re-iterate my point that if you are using another charity's name, you need their permission. And what you describe does sound like using another charity's name. Either that or you'd be being very vague.

    For example, let's say you set up the Raspberry Sorbet Charity, running the Raspberry Sorbet Charity Shop. Your charitable aims include "to raise money to give to various local charities".

    For example:

    I'm a keen charity shopper. I've never heard of the RS Charity (unsurprisingly), and I want to know what you do. You tell me the above. I want to know which charities. Maybe you don't want to tell me, because you haven't decided yet. That makes me unsure about supporting your charity, because I can't be sure I'm happy about which charities you're supporting. On a cynical day, I might even wonder whether you're actually supporting charities at all - and yes we have had questions on here about people / groups claiming to be charities but unable to provide any proof.

    Or, you DO tell me which charities you're supporting, let's say it's called "Happy Days". And as it happens, I'm a keen supporter, actually volunteering in the Head Office. I go in and gush about how wonderful this new RS Charity is, and isn't it great that they are supporting "Happy Days", and what a shame there isn't any of 'our' literature in there. And a Trustee hears, and says "WHAT? First we've heard about that."

    You might wonder why they wouldn't be thrilled, and it's too late at night for me to go into that.


    I'm not sure how it sounds vague. The aims would be that I was helping raise funds that went to people suffering from dementia and other mental health problems. If asked which ones then I would give examples of all ones we had donated to. Maybe have some leaflets in the shop that would go into this in more detail. I would also maybe help those who came directly to us, people with mental health issues who may need assistance in some way... this could be financial assistance. But obviously I would have to look into that more.
    I would never say we were working with a certain charities just incase there is any cross wires with their trustees, instead I would ask them if it would be ok to mention we'd donated to them rather than we are "working with them." I would make it clear in order to avoid confusion.

    I understand your points though and thank you for such a detailed answer it was very helpful.
  • raspberry_sorbet
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    I thought you could pay a wage to yourself or another person, assuming it says you can in the governing document or whatever it was called.
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