A recycling business that helps charity shops make the most of their donations has been able to safeguard jobs while UK high streets are in lockdown, with support from Lloyds Bank.
West London’s Choice Textile both recycles and sells charity shops’ unsold stock, helping some of the UK’s biggest third sector organisations raise money for the causes they support and avoid sending items in good condition, including clothing and books, to landfill.
The business’ primary source of income was cut off when its charity shop partners across the UK were asked to close as part of the government’s COVID-19 lockdown. Choice Textile paused trading in response and made the decision to furlough the majority of its full-time staff.
Facing increased pressure on cashflow, managing director Aloysius Ihezie turned to longstanding banking partner Lloyds Bank for support to maintain Choice Textile’s strong financial position during a period of unprecedented disruption.
Just 24 hours later, Lloyds Bank had arranged a capital repayment holiday on Choice Textiles’ existing borrowing. The support strengthened the business’ working capital position, allowing it to keep supporting its charity partners and cover staff wages until the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme goes live in May.
Choice Textile, an active long-term member of the Charity Retail Association, works with clients including Oxfam, Barnardos, the Salvation Army. Every year the business helps its partners raise over £3m for the causes they support.
Choice Textile also runs its own charity, Ihezie Foundation, which donates books to local primary schools. Last year it donated 120,000 books to schools across the UK.
Aloysius Ihezie said: “We were relieved when the government announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We’d be able to retain and support our wonderful team until our biggest customers reopen their doors.
“However, paying staff salaries until the scheme begins created pressure on our cashflow. Within hours, Lloyds Bank provided us with a solution and I’m happy we can continue to look after our clients and staff.
“The support also means we can continue with our agreements to our charity partners, providing them with much needed revenue during this difficult time. We’re looking forward to getting back to work helping them reduce their environmental footprint and raise money for worthwhile causes.”
Brendon Shanahan, relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, added: “Choice Textile’s services were in good demand before we entered lockdown with a strong customer base including household-name brands”.
“We’re working round the clock to help otherwise successful firms like Choice Textile navigate the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19. This includes setting aside £2bn of arrangement fee-free finance for those directly affected by the pandemic.”