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7 out of 10 say empty shops should be put to community or charity use

With major chains deserting the high street, 7 out of 10 people say empty units should be turned into community or charity shops until a permanent store can open, according to a poll from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The poll follows a report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard that revealed one in 10 high street shops in the UK are currently empty, with that figure rising to one in eight in Scotland.

A separate study found that almost 2,700 high street stores closed in the first six months of 2018, at an average of 14 a day.

According to the CAF poll, 37% of Brits aged 16 and above regularly shop in their local charity shop, equivalent to over 20 million people.

There are believed to be over 11,000 charity shops in the UK and 62% of those polled believe charity shops provide a valuable service on their local high street, rising to 66% of women.

Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at the Charities Aid Foundation adds:Charity shops have thrived in the UK for generations, which is no great surprise considering just how supportive most people are of charities in this country.

‘It’s amazing to see that over 20 million British people regularly pop to a charity shop, and clearly there is an appetite to see empty shops used in a way that supports the local community.’

‘Everyone wants to see our high streets thrive, and charity and community shops can be a great way to offer a valuable service while keeping our town centres bustling with activity.’

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