Barclays donates £100,000 to retail workers hit by pandemic

High street retail Debenhams

The UK’s retail industry charity retailTRUST has received a £100,000 donation from Barclays to help retail workers hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Demand for retailTRUST’s support has reached record levels since the start of the pandemic as retail workers deal with dramatic changes in their working conditions and a rising number of job losses from British retail.

Its services include non-repayable grants for people facing financial difficulty and wellbeing support for those suffering from anxiety, stress and depression.

retailTRUST is one of 100 charities to receive a donation from Barclays’ £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package, which has been set up to support organisations helping people and communities most impacted by the pandemic.

New figures have suggested that about 850 jobs have been lost from the retail sector each working day since the start of the year, with more to come.

Chris Brook-Carter, CEO of retailTRUST, said: “The financial support we provide to help people stay in their homes, feed their families or make essential hospital visits rose by 125 per cent last year and we responded to a 164% rise in applications for mental health support.

“Four million people work in British retail as a whole and they have been heavily impacted financially, emotionally and physically during the entire course of the pandemic. This funding from Barclays will allow retailTRUST to continue to provide vital help to those who need it.

More than £800,000 in non-repayable grants was provided by retailTRUST last year to help people stay in their own homes and meet other essential needs and the charity also ran more than 6,000 counselling sessions as demand for its services grew. It now provides support to retail workers aged 16 to 18 as well as all adults working in the sector following a 235% increase in requests for help from people aged under 20 last year.

Nigel Higgins, Barclays Chairman, added: “COVID-19 has created an unprecedented social and economic impact in the UK, with many experiencing greater hardship due to the crisis. Incredible charities, such as retailTRUST have been playing a vital role in the UK’s response to the pandemic, ensuring urgent help reaches those most in need of support.

As a bank we have been doing all we can for our customers, clients and colleagues, and we hope that by partnering with retailTRUST and many other charities across the UK, collectively we can ensure that as many people as possible in the communities in which we live and work are supported through this crisis.”

Last month, retailTRUST called on leaders in retail to take part in the charity’s Financial Health and Wellness month this January, asking them to “download, donate, direct and delegate”.