Leading charity retailer takes steps in charity shop innovation

One of the UK’s top charity retailers, The Salvation Army, is taking steps in charity shop innovation as they open their first charity superstore in Northampton on 27 July.

Set to be a thriving community hub for the town, the 17,500 square-foot high street store will include clothing, furniture, electricals, white goods, nursery items and its own café. The opening ceremony will take place at 11am with Commissioner Clive Adams, leader of The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland, cutting the ribbon. A traditional Salvation Army band will play from 10.30am to celebrate the occasion.

Nick Morton said: “We are very excited about the opening of the first ‘GREAT BIG Charity Superstore’. We have created this new concept charity shop to act as not just a shop, but a place to serve the people of Northampton. The Salvation Army puts local communities at the forefront of its work and we wanted to reflect this in the Superstore, making it an environment for our visitors to be sociable, join in with activities and workshops, and connect with the local Salvation Army church.

The on-site café has been fitted with equipment and furniture generously donated by Costa Coffee, and will be serving drinks provided by Lavazza.

Nick Morton added: “We are very fortunate to have received support from other retailers which has allowed us to create this modern and stylish space on a charity budget. The café in particular needed to be an inviting and comfortable space as it acts as a place for visitors to relax and unwind, and make an initial connection with The Salvation Army if they wish.”

Leaders of the local Salvation Army church, Majors Jason and Janice Snell, will be available during the week to offer pastoral support to members of the community. A private room in the store will act as a sanctuary for those seeking help, advice or just a listening ear. Major Jason said: “Whenever we walk through the town in our Salvation Army uniform we find someone always stops us for a quick chat – usually to share their struggles and receive a word of encouragement. The superstore presents a new opportunity to serve the community here in Northampton. We’ll be able to offer a safe place where anyone can come and have a chat over a cup of tea. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are going through – you are welcome.”

As well as serving the community pastorally, the ‘GREAT BIG Charity Superstore’ brings new opportunities for volunteers.

Store General Manager, Jayne Sargeant, who has been working for The Salvation Army for 18 years, commented: “One of the best parts of my job is that I’m able to encourage volunteers, helping them to develop skills and grow in confidence. We’re always on the lookout for passionate people to help out in store, and anyone who is considering joining the team can visit our Volunteer Open Day on 25 July. This will be an opportunity to ask questions, meet staff members and try out some of the tasks they would be required to perform as a volunteer.”

“We are pleased that we can offer retail experience to our volunteers, as well as barista training through our café. Ultimately we are looking to provide for people in the community and we feel the extensive opportunities for volunteers will help to achieve this.”

Profit made by the store will be support The Salvation Army’s work with some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the UK, tackling issues such as homelessness, care for older people, unemployment, poverty and modern slavery. The church and charity also supports the UK’s emergency services in cities and towns across the UK by providing practical and emotional care to emergency services personnel.

The GREAT BIG Charity Superstore, at 84/86 Abington Street, Northampton, will celebrate their grand opening on 27 July at 11am. The Volunteer Open Day will take place on 25 July between 10am – 2pm. More information about the shop can be found at www.salvationarmytrading.org.uk, or search ‘Sally Army Superstore’ on Facebook.