Thinking of leaving a legacy?

Legacy consortium Remember a Charity have found that the proportion of people who include legacies in their Wills has increased 14% in two years.


These encouraging numbers were revealed after a survey was carried out, asking 1,001 people over the age of 40, about their plans to leave legacies when writing or updating their Will.


All of the participants had written their Wills, with 26 per cent needing to update theirs. Almost half of the people surveyed were intending or considering leaving a gift to charity in their Will.


Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity commented: “Historically, there has been a large disconnect between the proportion of adults who say they’d be happy to leave gifts in their Wills and those who actually do it.”


“These latest results show that significant progress has been made towards closing this gap between intention and action – but, with so many charities reliant on legacy income, there is still more work to be done to make legacy giving the social norm.”


If this has prompted you to think about your own Will, then why not speak to Weston Hospicecare about the upcoming Make Your Will Week in March? Leading solicitors from Weston-super-Mare, Worle, Burnham On Sea, Wrington, Clevedon and Cheddar will be giving their time, free of charge, to write or update a standard Will in return for a donation to Weston Hospicecare.


For more information about Make Your Will Week, contact the Hospice on .

Charity shops a boon, not a burden on the High Street says think tank

This caught my eye this week: a really useful survey from think tank Demos has investigated the public’s perception of charity shops and concludes that despite a commonly held belief to the contrary, they may actually be keeping our High Streets alive.

There have been regular calls in recent years to limit the number of charity shops on the High Street but the report – which polled  2,200 members of the public, 150 charity shop managers and 150 volunteers – suggests the increase is “a symptom, not a cause” of High Street decline and their benefits are “often unrecognised”.

In reality, charity shops encourage footfall to our High Streets, combat unemployment, have a positive impact on the environment and help to tackle social isolation.


Getting people back on to the High Street

Charity shops – in our age of austerity – are actually a draw to the once beloved High Street with 6 out of 10 Britons having bought something from a charity shop in the last year.

Rather than charity shops causing a decline in High Street shoppers, those surveyed by Demos recognised that internet shopping, the recession and the upsurge in out-of-town shopping sites have had a much bigger impact.


Kind to the environment

We saw 92,000 donations to our shops last year – we have 16. There are more than 10,000 in the UK, all taking donations every day. By re-using donated items charity shops are keeping them from landfill sites and are responsible for reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 3.7 million tonnes per year; “roughly equivalent to the entire carbon footprint of Iceland” apparently!


Good social health

The report says charity shops help tackle health and social problems, particularly social isolation.

I’ve often been into our shops and noticed the same faces popping in to browse the shelves – it’s not that they particularly need anything, although something usually catches their eye – they have just popped in to see familiar faces and have a natter.

That’s not unique to Weston Hospicecare. Staff surveyed felt their shops act like a meeting point within the community for older and vulnerable people to simply “drop in” for a chat.

It has benefits for volunteers too with 91% citing socialising and meeting new people as a benefit of volunteering.


Tackling unemployment

The Charity Retail Association reports there are 210,000 volunteers in the UK. More than 80% of those surveyed by Demos said their motivations for volunteering are to gain experience and better prepare themselves for paid work. If that stat reflects the universal view then a huge number of people rely on charity shops as a route back to work.

We actively work with local job centres, volunteering organisations like VANS, local schools and colleges to promote the benefits of volunteering for work and life skills, but the report thinks we could all be doing more.


Charity shops need to help themselves

Ally Paget, author of the report, said: “It is a real shame that the multitude of benefits offered by charity shops is so often unrecognised and under used, especially in this time of austerity.”

She added that charity shops could do more to promote the “huge contributions they make to communities”.

Sound advice and we’re going to take it on board.

There’s some exciting partnerships happening for Weston Hospicecare in the community over the next year which will highlight how our shops can play a vital role in the health of our High Street and local employment.

We’re remaining tight lipped for now but all will become clear soon!


Linda Kelly, Head of Retail, Weston Hospicecare