Mencap charity shopMencap has announced plans to launch up to 130 charity shops across the country over the next 3-5 years. The shops will be Mencap’s first charity stores and will have an added focus on educating the public about learning disability.

The shops will range from standard charity shops, to discount shops and donation stations. Through the shops Mencap will look to boost employment and inclusion of people with a learning disability in local communities, with the aim of creating more than 150 paid full-time roles, as well as voluntary roles and work experience placements for people with a learning disability. 

The first shop was opened in Bury, Greater Manchester in December 2016. Ten more will follow across the country within this financial year. 

Gerard Cousins, Mencap’s director of marketing and engagement, said: “The launch of Mencap stores is a hugely important step for us as a charity; creating employment opportunities, building relationships within local communities, and of course giving a boost to our fundraising efforts, which will allow us to continue supporting people with a learning disability to live the lives they choose. 

“Currently just 5.8% of people with a learning disability known to local authorities are in employment. We want to change that and Mencap shops will aim to create more opportunities for people with a learning disability to gain valuable work experience whilst creating 270 full-time paid roles. 

“Mencap shops will offer the chance for people with a learning disability and the public to meet and work together; building relationships and bringing together communities. We’re hugely excited for our first charity shop to open this December, and I look forward to Mencap becoming a well-loved addition to Britain’s communities as we open more stores.”