CaRe20 - Caring for Retail during COVID-19
Retail industry launches £10m appeal to support shop workers suffering through COVID-19
retailTRUST, RWRC (Retail Week) - the home of Retail Week and World Retail Congress - and the British Retail Consortium, the industry's trade association, have joined forces 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.
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.
Richard Boland, Chief Executive of retailTRUST, said:
"COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for society and the retail community. How we all care for each other will define how well the nation will come out of this in the future. We are experiencing unprecedented demand for our online services especially via myrtwellbeing.org.uk and we are ready with emergency funding to support all involved but the length and depth of the need for support will dwarf anything we have seen in the last one hundred years. We need your help."
Chris Brook-Carter, incoming Chief Executive of retailTRUST and Managing Director of RWRC by Ascential, stated:
“We have seen from the start of this crisis that retail and the millions of colleagues who work in the sector will be critical in the UK’s response to COVID-19. However, what is also apparent is the damage it can do to so many households – financially, physically and mentally – who rely on retail for their incomes. This appeal has the capacity to support the many colleagues who are ensuring vital stores and supply chains are kept open over coming weeks, whilst also acting as a safety net for those who are now facing financial and psychological distress as a result of a loss of income. I am sure we will see retail at its very best over coming weeks and this appeal will be a shining example of the values and commitment to its people we know underpin this industry.”
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."
Nina Bhatia, Executive Director, Strategy & Commercial Development of the John Lewis Partnership, stated:
“The John Lewis Partnership is a proud supporter of retailTRUST. With the unprecedented challenges our industry is now facing, we recognise that demand for the vital services the Trust provides is likely to grow exponentially. We are pleased to support the capital appeal for retail, helping the most vulnerable in our industry at this time, and enabling the Trust to continue to be there for the millions of people working in retail across the UK.”
Louise Greenlees, President of TJX Europe, said:
“TK Maxx and Homesense have long partnered with the amazing retailTRUST and used the essential services they provide for our UK employee assistance programme. Our thoughts now turn to people around the world who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and so, in this time of unprecedented need, we are very pleased to be able to give additional support to this dedicated fund CaRe20 which will provide critical help to the most vulnerable across our industry.”