Last Sunday I spoke at the Independent Retailer Month UK Launch Conference in Solihull. As I took to the stage, I noticed a man hovering by the door and encouraged him to take a seat or risk missing what promised to be the best speech of the conference.
Thankfully he took my comment with the good humour I had intended and informed me that he would in fact be following me on the stage.
Once my speech had ended, the man came over to let me know how fascinated he was by the work that Retail Trust does, and formally introduced himself to me as Stefan Töpfer.
I am delighted to report that Stefan immediately grasped the essence of what makes Retail Trust such an important and worthwhile cause. He understood that the services we provide help change the lives of thousands each year, and how vital it is that we continue to spread the charity’s message far and wide.
Simply put, Retail Trust is the only charity that looks after the needs of all 3 million people who work in retail in the UK. Founded 180 years ago, to some extent the charity remains retail’s best kept secret, but the impact of the work we do should not be underestimated.
When I spoke with Stefan on Sunday, he put forward a hypothetic example of the sort of person we might be able to help. Well I can go a step further and provide one of the thousands of examples of people we have helped. Names have, of course, been changed to ensure anonymity.
Ryan, who works for a small, independent retailer, and his wife Lauren have three children. Their youngest, Emma, was born prematurely and with a severe hearing impairment. Due to her impairment, Emma has difficulty in learning language and really struggles to communicate. Ryan and Lauren signed their daughter up for hearing and speech therapy and, while it has been very successful, they have found it hard to continue funding this vital treatment for their daughter’s progress. After being refused a loan, Ryan and Lauren turned to Retail Trust for help. Retail Trust paid for a year’s fees for Emma’s therapy and the couple now look forward to seeing the difference this will have make to their daughter’s life.
Our free, confidential and independent Helpline is here to help anyone in retail with any problem they may be facing. There are four ways to contact the Helpline, you can phone 0808 801 0808, text HELPLINE to 88010, email email@example.com or visit Helpline Online at retailtrust.org.uk/help
Retail is the second biggest employer in the UK, so the likelihood is that every single person reading this blog either works in the sector or knows someone who does. Please let them know that we are here for them, should they ever need us.