British Retail Consortium has joined forces with retailTRUST and RWRC (the home of Retail Week and World Retail Congress) in a bid to raise £10m for retail colleagues who are facing financial distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fundraising campaign, 'CaRe 20 – Caring for Retail during COVID-19', aims to raise £10m to provide the financial, emotional, physical and vocational support that will be desperately needed by retail workers and their families who may be ineligible for government support during the health emergency.
CaRe20 will offer a lifeline to those on retail’s frontline who are putting their customers’ health and wellbeing before their own, including contractors and temporary staff, those who have already been left out of work, and employees who may need more than just financial help.
Emotional and physical support will also be required by some of those who still have jobs as they cope with the stress of meeting heightened demand in essential stores and risking exposure to COVID-19 on a daily basis.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
"There has never been a more important time for us all to support one another. The retail industry is facing its biggest challenge in decades with many colleagues under enormous emotional and financial strain. Supporting the wellbeing of those in the front line is essential. This underlines the need for a strong government response to the crisis, and it is why initiatives like CaRe20 are so important. We urge everyone to offer their support and kindness to the millions of retail workers across the country at this difficult time."
The money raised through CaRe20 will support thousands of people working in retail through a host of initiatives, including:
- Financial grants to help with food, essential bills, childcare and other necessities
- Telephone and online counselling to help those with stress and anxiety
- Upskilling and retraining for those facing redundancy or seeking a new role
- Online self-help tools and resources through myrtwellbeing.org.uk
Funds will also be made available to employees of retail’s supporting industries, including the thousands working in the food distribution, pharmaceutical and medical supply sectors, all of whom are making huge sacrifices to keep shelves stacked and customers serviced. Those working in logistics, warehousing and other areas of the supply chain are also working exceptionally long hours to keep vital supplies available. All of them are putting the health and wellbeing of their communities first so that everyone can obtain the essential supplies they need during these difficult times.
Many others are being made redundant, put on unpaid leave, or are self-isolating themselves or with their families, unable to work. These individuals will find work difficult to come by, or may not have jobs to go back to.
The UK Government has already committed to financially supporting those furloughed employees who cannot work with an 80% subsidy up to £2,500 a month. We believe this, whilst excellent, will not come close to solving the real problems.
Those wishing to donate can do so here