BT’s Shop for Change Survey Unveils the Hidden Gems and Bargains in NI Charity Shops

Oct 09, 2017


80% of people in Northern Ireland are still choosing to donate unwanted items to charity shops, rather than sell online, and nearly 60% of charity supporters donate at least twice a year.  That’s according to a social media survey commissioned by BT to launch its all-island BT Shop for Change annual fundraiser on Thursday 19 October  in support of Marie Curie and the Irish Cancer Society.

The findings show that nearly a third of people, who donate clothes, furniture and other items, see it as a way of supporting a cause close to their heart. The survey also highlights some of the more unusual, purse-friendly items purchased in charity shops including:

  • A dress which has been worn to four weddings. Original price: £125. Cost: £5
  • A vintage tweed blazer which is still being worn 30 years later. Cost: £1
  • A designer lamp. Original price: £180. Cost: £9
  • A Dyson vacuum cleaner. Cost: £40
  • A collector’s set of 10 vinyl records. Cost: £10
  • A wing back chair. Cost: £10
  • A Polaroid OneStep camera in full working order. Cost: £20

With half (50%) of those surveyed revealing that they love to bag a bargain in charity shops, Thursday 19th October should be a key date in the shopping calendar because more than 250 BT employees across the island of Ireland will be setting up shop and putting their newly-donated items up for sale.

The BT volunteers will be taking over 27 Marie Curie and Irish Cancer Society charity shops for one day only.  They will be competing amongst themselves to collect as much new stock as possible and raise as much money as they can to provide care and support for people living with cancer and terminal illness.

Over the last six years, the BT volunteering initiative has raised more than £400,000 for the two charities.  Staff participation has increased by 50% and this year the teams of volunteers will be taking over all bar two of Marie Curie’s 18 charity shops in Northern Ireland.

Paul Murnaghan, Regional Director of BT Business in Northern Ireland, said: “At BT, we’re working hard to have a positive impact on local communities across Northern Ireland. We’re delighted to be working with Marie Curie again and we’re thrilled to see such a sizeable increase in the number of BT volunteers who have come on board and are rallying behind the initiative this year.

"Marie Curie provides vital care and support to people and families affected by terminal illness right across Northern Ireland.  By donating their time, talents and treasures, our BT volunteers will be helping to ensure that more people receive the end of life care they need.  I would encourage everyone to come along and show your support on Thursday 19 October.”

Clayre Sloan, Area Retail Manager, Marie Curie said: “We’re looking forward to a fantastic day and know that all the BT volunteers will be pulling out all the stops to boost our stores and make this year’s challenge the best yet.

“By supporting the BT fundraiser in store on the day, or donating your pre-loved items, you’re helping fund vital nursing care when families need it most.”

For every £20 raised by the BT volunteers in Northern Ireland, Marie Curie can provide one hour of nursing care to local people in need. Money raised will help Marie Curie provide hands on care at its Belfast hospice, day hospice outpatient services, and nursing and volunteer ‘Helper’ services which support people in their own home.

The social media survey of charity shop users in Northern Ireland and the Republic was promoted by Marie Curie and the Irish Cancer Society – BT’s Shop for Change charity partners.
For further information about BT Shop for Change and for a list of participating Marie Curie shops in Northern Ireland, please log on to and follow all the activity on Twitter @btinireland #BTShopforChange.


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