// The Retail Trust has begun a fundraising appeal after demand for its services for retail workers rose by nearly 90% due to Covid-19
// The charity is calling on people to walk, run, swim or cycle to raise vital funds for people working in retail
Industry charity the Retail Trust has begun a fundraising appeal after demand for its services for retail workers rose by almost 90% amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is calling on people to support the appeal by walking, running, swimming or cycling four miles, donating a minimum of £4 and nominating another four people.
The charity revealed that it has given out more than £1.2 million in financial aid and run over 11,000 counselling sessions since the start of Covid in a bid to help people working in the sector pay their rent and utility bills and provide support to those facing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Kristina Bavera, a supervisor at Paul Smith prior to the pandemic received financial aid and counselling from the Retail Trust after she was placed on furlough and later lost her job with the fashion retailer.
Kristina said: “I applied for hundreds of jobs but received no replies. I was extremely depressed and anxious, and my husband and I had to move in with my mum as we could no longer afford our rent when he was also let go from his job. We then had to pay rent for a storage unit to put all of our things and furniture somewhere safe.
“I was eventually accepted to join a teaching agency as a one-to-one teaching assistant, and have now started a one-year teacher training course, but the worries of not working have never left me. I am at a point where I do not know what to expect next and I try not to look forward to things as they have not gone well in the past year.”
Retail Trust chief executive Chris Brook-Carter said: “Retail is one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, with thousands of people losing their jobs and many more facing financial, physical and emotional pressures, and this has driven a huge rise in requests for the Retail Trust’s help.
“Recent shortages of HGV drivers and other workers has only gone to show how much we rely on the people who keep our shops and services running and we’re now expecting demand for our services to increase even further in the run up to Christmas as retailers are forced to deal with ongoing uncertainty surrounding staffing and stock levels, alongside the end of the furlough scheme.
“As a charity, we’re focused on protecting the hope, health and happiness of everyone in retail, but the support we provide simply isn’t possible without the donations the Trust receives and the wider support of the retail sector. Together, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create the kind of industry that places the health of its people at the centre of how we operate, and leave a legacy for the next generation of retailers that ensures our sector and its people thrive.”