UK retailers are already investing vast amounts of time and money into local charitable work and will look to do even more in the coming years, according to a new report published by an industry body.
Lobby group the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has produced the ‘Retail in Society: Serving our communities’ which highlights a number of case studies where a total of £25 million has been spent by traders and thousands of hours of their staff members’ free time offered to a range of community-based projects.
Initiatives such as literacy programmes, parenting classes and training for offenders are currently provided by the industry at a time when local authority budgets are being cut across the country and more families are finding difficult to make ends meet.
In his first speech as the new Chairman of the BRC, Rob Templeman will confirm that retailers will continue to support local communities in the years to come at the representative group’s annual Parliamentary Reception tonight.
“We all know that due to the economic climate that there is less money around. Everyone from businesses, to families, to local authorities, is feeling the pinch,” Templeman will say.
“And as local authority budgets reduce, many local groups will be turning to business and asking them to dig a little deeper in support of community activities.
“But as this report clearly demonstrates, the retail sector already does so much to support the communities in which they operate. We understand that in the future we may need to do more and retailers will not shrink from this challenge.”
Templeman has considerable retail experience having been the CEO of Harveys Furnishing Group, Homebase, Halfords and most recently Debenhams, and has also worked hard in the charitable sector as chair of the Children with Cancer Ball committee, whilst he is also the Chairman of Graduate Fashion Week.
He claims that more still needs to be done by the government to cut down on bureaucracy and make it easier for retailers to create jobs, to help businesses help their communities.
Ed Davey, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, commented: “For its part, the government wants to do as much as it can to make it easier for business to do what it needs to by removing barriers and burdens through our Red Tape Challenge, as well as making it easier to employ people - particularly young people - by piloting new streamlined approaches to taking on apprentices.”