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4th October 2023

Town with the most charity shops in the UK

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ukphonebook.com has crunched the numbers and discovered where you can find the best bargains on the high street – yes, we’ve found which towns and regions in the UK have the most charity shops.

Charity shops have long been a favourite among bargain hunters, as well as those who want to help a good cause while scratching that retail itch.

In fact, 3.26% of all retail units are charity shops, according to the Charity Retail Association (CRA). They are so popular that they’ve seen a 15.1% growth in like-for-like store income in the period from January to March 2023.

Using our in-depth and highly accurate Business Search function, we’ve looked at which specific postcodes have the most charity shops, which regions have the most charity shops, and which region has the most such shops per head of population.


Which town has the most charity shops?

Position Postcode Outer Local name Total Charity Shops

1

BN21

Eastbourne

35

2

BN3

Hove

33

3

PR1

Preston

30

4

NN1

Northampton

29

4

EX4

Exeter (North)

29

4

NG5

Sherwood region

29

7

TN1

Tunbridge Wells

28

8

PR7

Chorley

27

8

BN1

Brighton

27

10

DE1

Derby

26

10

MK40

Bedford

26

10

YO1

York

26



Our figures show there are 35 charity shops located in Eastbourne (BN21). The seaside town is a haven for discount shoppers – as are its close neighbours Hove (BN3), with 33 charity shops, and Brighton (BN1), with 27.

The majority of charity shops in the BN21 postcode area are located along Terminus Road. One of the main shopping drags in Eastbourne, the partially pedestrianised street boasts 11 charity shops.

Grove Road, just around the corner from Terminus Road, also has a further five charity shops dotted among its many restaurants, cafes and clothes shops.

In Hove, the charity shops are concentrated on the half kilometre long Blatchington Road. There are five along this street’s length.

Regionally, the top regions were spread across the country with four in the southeast, four in the Midlands, two in the northwest and one each in the southwest and Yorkshire.

Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association (CRA), said:

“Charity shops play a vital role in attracting footfall to local high streets, such as Eastbourne, by maintaining a bricks-and-mortar presence in a rapidly changing retail landscape.”

“By offering an affordable and varied shopping experience, charity shops can appeal to a wide range of people, including younger shoppers.”

PositionRegionPostcode regionTotal Business Class "Charity Shops"
1BelfastBT385
2PortsmouthPO301
3NottinghamNG299
4BrightonBN285
5BristolBS260
6NewcastleNE238
7PeterboroughPE226
8NorwichNR216
9EdinburghEH214
10YorkYO208

When it comes to the wider regions with the most charity shops, the picture changes.

Even though there are three Brighton (BN) postcodes in the top 10 for postcode areas, the wider Brighton area is only the fourth most popular place for charity shops.

Belfast reigns supreme here with 385 shops in the BT postcode region, followed by Portsmouth (PO) with 301.

People per charity shop

Postcode regionNameTotal "Charity Shops"People per charity shops
LDLlandrindod Wells15129
HGHarrogate53359
HXHalifax40416
HRHerefordshire63458
TFTelford51550
DTDorchester82553
SMSutton57563
SPSalisbury58603
ALSt Albans51650
SRSunderland50651

While knowing which region has the most charity shops is interesting, it’s also worth taking local population into account. Large regions are obviously going to have more shops in general.

We took the local population for each postcode area and found which has the fewest people per charity shops.

Wales took the title with Llandrindod Wells and the wider LD postcode area in Powys having one charity shop for every 130 people. Next up was the well-healed Harrogate, which had a shop for every 359 locals.

The important of charity shops in the UK

Charity shops are a great asset to many high streets. Not only do they offer affordable clothing, houseware and books to the local community, they also play a vital part in removing items from landfill.

In 2018/19, charity shops kept around 339,000 tonnes of textiles from being disposed of.

Robin Osterley at the CRA added:

“We know that a lot of people now prioritise sustainability when buying clothes, and charity shops are best placed to champion sustainable fashion and reuse by offering cost-effective and accessible shopping options on people’s doorsteps.”

Charity shops provide their parent charities with £363m a year, says the CRA. They also employ over 26,000 people in full time positions, not to mention the thousands who volunteer.

Nick Smith, Retail Director at Age UK, said:

“Charity shops are far more than shops today - they are the high street champions, integral parts of communities, expert recyclers and champions of sustainability.”

“As well as spending less, we know that there are other reasons why people choose to shop at charity shops, including finding unique items they might not be able to get elsewhere and the fact that we are all more aware of the greater need to do our bit for the environment.”

“Age UK has a network of over 250 shops across the England and Wales, which are supported by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers, and generate much-needed funds for the Charity’s work. “As well as supporting the sustainability movement, shopping in Age UK’s charity shops also means you’re supporting older people across the country. Funds raised go towards the Charity’s vital services, including Age UK’s national Advice Line and its Telephone Friendship Services, which provide a valuable lifeline to older people who have no one else to turn to.”

How we compiled our data

Ukphonebook.com has a huge database of information on local UK businesses. We pull our data from an array of source including Companies House and the telephone directory. This means we have highly accurate information on which companies are based in which towns and cities.

For this project, we looked at any business premise registered as a ‘Charity Shop’ and broke that information down by postcode region. This looked at specific postcode regions (BN21, for example) and most wider postcode areas (BT being the Belfast region).

 

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