The visual headlines this month will stay with us as a nation for quite some time as cracks in society developed into chasms.

The visual headlines this week will stay with us as a nation for quite some time as cracks in society developed into chasms. Operation Rebuild has shown, however, that community spirit is still a mainstay of our British culture with local efforts helping restore some normality ‘the morning after’.

At Retail Trust we have been involved with the immediate fallout, and helping those affected has been our core focus since the night everyone watched in with shock: tweeting our helpline details of 0808 801 0808 to our followers, manning the lines as calls come in and reacting to the many offers of ‘how can we help’ that came from members of the public.

We launched our #highstheroes campaign on Twitter to ensure the hidden impact elements of the rioting are not lost and that we could help as many people affected from retail as possible through additional and immediate fundraising.

We are the only charity that looks after all those in the retail industry in need, through our confidential helpline, website and campaigns such as this when stress and trauma are at their peak. Our immediate focus is on:

  • Financial aid – emergency grants of £250 issued to people in retail with needs who have been personally affected by the riots. As additional needs arise over time, and the pool of donations increases, levels of aid will build and diversify
  • Advice and guidance – practical support and guidance regarding the riots, including legal advice, financial services (debt management, personal budgeting, etc) and resources
  • Counselling – telephone and face-to-face counselling and support regarding the riots, loss and trauma
  • Critical incident support – requests for on-site counselling support related to the riots

In the longer term we will still be there to help people pick up the pieces too and offer the counselling that may be needed to help with the emotional, human side of the aftermath. It is not just brands that have been defaced and looted, but feelings of comfort and safety that employees have learnt to rely on in their workplaces.

The immediate focus that #highstheroes has is for fundraising now. It will make a difference for all those for whom life needs to continue alongside the rebuilding of their businesses.

Thanks here are due to Retail Week for the team’s support in spreading the campaign message through print and the power of the tweet, which can still of course be a channel for good and not just for incitement.

These times are a challenge, but also a time to come together. And not just in regional communities but in the industry sense too. The power of the donation is critical. We need your help and we need it now so please donate.

Contributions at any level can be donated via the website, or by texting HSTH11 £5 to 70070 to donate to Retail Trust. 100% of all monies raised under #highstheroes will benefit those affected. You can really help, in money terms but also if you want to volunteer and offer us time. Thank you for your support.

  • Nigel Rothband chief executive, Retail Trust