Our shops close for now but our work in the community continues

Dear colleagues, customers, donors and supporters,

The current crisis is a fast moving and changing environment. The Senior Management Team of Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd. (SATCoL) is in constant consultation with our colleagues at The Salvation Army; making time-critical decisions to adhere to Government advice that ensures the protection of our teams and the wider community, whilst maintaining the highest service levels for our customers. Supporting The Salvation Army’s work to help the most vulnerable in our society is at the heart of what we do at SATCoL. This will not change and in the coming days and weeks we will continue our discussions about the future and how we will support The Salvation Army’s vital outreach work at a time when our communities need them the most.

In recent days, and in response to the ever-changing crisis, we have reevaluated our charity shop operation which interacts on a daily basis with members of the public.  After much soul searching, I must announce the decision to close the shops operated by SATCoL from Monday 23 March. This applies to our 241 shops, 2 superstores, 13 donation centres and 2 Salvationists Publishing & Supplies (SP&S) shops. Our clothing collection division, support function, 5 warehouses and online shops remain fully operational, with new protocols in place.

The welfare of our staff, volunteers and customers remains our highest priority. The decision to close our shops enables colleagues (and customers) to follow, to the letter, guidelines given by the Government and Public Health England for self isolation, social distancing and staying safe.

During the past week many positive stories have been shared regarding the way our shops have engaged with Salvation Army Corps (churches) and have joined in their efforts to relieve local hardship. From the depths of my being I give thanks to all our colleagues for this.

SATCoL’s other divisions remain operational

We continue to fully support the latest Government advice and adapt our operations as required. We have introduced working from home across our operations, increased hygiene protocols and social distancing rules now apply.

As of today, our clothing banks are fully operational and we are maintaining full collection services with no reported disruptions to service levels. Our 140 drivers and warehouse operatives undertake a vital role in waste reduction and are able to practice social distancing in their day-to-day work. We are working closely with our supermarket customers to support them at this critical time; we review donations to our clothing banks on a daily basis, adjust collections where necessary and respond to clients’ needs at site level. We continue to support our corporate partners with end-of-range and returned stock, enabling them to utilize our warehouse capacity where needed.

The teams in SP&S, World of Brass, World of Sound and Studio Music are still able to support our customers remotely.  We thank you for your continued support and more updates will be posted on our website in the coming days and weeks.

God bless you all.

Trevor Caffull
Managing Director