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Opening two new MS Society shops

We wanted to let you know about our exciting plans to open two charity shops in the Greater Manchester area.  

Our plans, and why now?

We know that, to continue supporting the MS community, we need to find new ways to increase our income. We want to develop our organisation-wide services so we can support and reach more people affected by MS.  

We’ve carefully researched the market and found that more people are now visiting charity shops. The demand for good quality, pre-loved items is on the rise.  

So, we now plan to open two new charity shops in Greater Manchester by the end of 2023. The shops will be managed by our central Retail Team, with a local Shop Manager and team of volunteers. We’ve already secured a site in Hale, Manchester, and are in the process of securing a second unit.

There are various criteria we look for when identifying the location for our shops. We’ve picked Manchester as it meets all of these, and has a renowned fashion scene (meaning good quality donations) and a buoyant charity shop market. It’s also an area with a number of active local groups. 

Our vision      

We’re really excited by the opportunity our new shops will give us — to raise vital income, and to reach new people and tell them about our services and support, including the activity delivered by local groups.  

We’ll be working with the groups local to the chosen shop locations to create shop spaces that’ll become a local hub for the MS community. From these, we can signpost group activity, information, services and support, and volunteer vacancies. And we can share information from local partners also supporting the MS community.   

How will the new shops work with our existing shops?

Our new shops will be supported by our Retail Team. A paid local Shop Manager and team of volunteers will manage them day to day. We're keen for them to become an important part of the local MS community, operating alongside our local groups and services. 

Our existing MS Society shops will continue to be run by their local groups, with support from our Retail Team. We’re keen to draw upon the knowledge and experience they’ve gained as we develop our new shop network. 

Together, our existing and new centrally-run shops will help us to raise our local profile and increase understanding and connections across local MS communities. 

What’s next? 

We’ve been talking to volunteers at our Trafford Group, which is the group closest to the Hale shop location. Together, we’ve been identifying opportunities for the group and new shop to support one another.

The next step is to secure a second shop location, also in Greater Manchester.

Mark Haymes, our Community and Retail Lead, said:

"We’re keen to bring all our volunteers, supporters and staff along with us as we develop our retail plans. We’re really excited about the positive difference a new MS Society shop network could make for our community. Keep an eye out on our social media channels and website for updates."

If you have any questions about our retail plans, please send them to [email protected].