The 4th annual eBay for Business Awards are open for entries with the grand prize totalling a humongous £20,000 in cash. You have until 11:59:59 on the 24th of August to submit your entry. This week we are revisiting some of last year’s winners and today we look at Local Aid Charity:
Local Aid Charity One Year On
Local Aid, a charity based in Swansea raises awareness of the needs and aspirations of young people with severe learning difficulties and physical disabilities by providing specialist educational services and support. One of its four high street shops has a work experience programme called ‘Take That’, which helps students learn how to use eBay, acquiring skills such as how to value donations, upcycle products and list items for sale.
Local Aid won the Charity of the Year award at last year’s eBay for Business Awards
How did you use the prize money from your award?
We used the prize fund to support more children and young people with additional learning needs and their families develop important independence and work skills. We have supported over 100 young people at our charity shop at Gorseinon to gain valuable retail and independence skills as well as giving families an opportunity to benefit from respite from caring, and take part in planned social activities.
How has your business grown in the past year since the awards?
Our online presence has grown considerably since the award. eBay sales have been incredibly positive. We’ve gone from a few hundred pounds every 6 months to a few hundred pounds every month and increasing.
Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your business?
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on our business, as it has on all charity shops. We had to close for 3 months. This led to a complete loss of income and we had to manage other challenges too, like how to best reopen safely. The charity has seen dramatic changes. Having an eBay shop during this time has allowed us to generate sales and vital funds the pandemic.
Was eBay a helpful lifeline during the pandemic?
Lockdown presented us with a few challenges as we had to furlough some of our staff. But after a few months we started back on eBay, initially working from home and having couriers collect, and the sales were impressive. As the shops were getting ready to open it was possible to increase our listings on eBay and the income from this was a real benefit to our charity.
eBay also gave us a grant which was so wonderful. There were also training opportunities and webinars to help charities get up to speed with online selling while shops were shut. These were amazing, we gained so much knowledge and skills which we have put in place to improve our eBay shop. This has really started to improve sales. The one to one training was so beneficial using zoom, meaning Jayne (eBay) could see our eBay set up by screen sharing – amazing ! There is also a Facebook page, again another means to glean hints and tips.
What are your future plans for your business?
We plan to safely reopen our retail outlets and hopefully rebuild our position locally as a community resource that provides much needed help and support in Swansea. We are a small local charity, all of our aims and objectives are to continue to support those most vulnerable in our community and to encourage safe participation in volunteering and skills development.
We aim to make our shops safe and keep them open. It is also our aim to maximise our eBay sales. Hopefully in the future we can have students again and teach them retail skills and how to use eBay.
Do you have any tips for this year’s contestants?
I’d advise any small business to really consider opening an eBay shop, it’s such an amazing platform! Really go for it! eBay can give you advice and an opportunity to get much needed income, particularly as the retail sector is changing due to the pandemic, so people are not shopping as they used to.