NCT charity sales to feature in PhD study

Released on: 28 April 2011

NCT, the UK’s largest parenting charity, will be the subject of a doctorate which will see a student carry out research into the organisation’s biggest fundraising activity – Nearly New Sales.

The charity’s Nearly New Sales are to be the focus of a PhD study into the role of second-hand retail in the UK in challenging economic times, carried out in collaboration with the University of Southampton.

Organised by the charity’s local branches around the UK, the Sales sell excellent condition second-hand clothing, equipment and toys at bargain prices. Sellers keep up to 70% of the proceeds from the sale, and the rest is returned to NCT to help fund its vital services.

The research will be funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), under the Retail Industry Business Engagement Network (RIBEN) scheme pending final project approval.  The project will seek to understand the changing function and character of second-hand retail and consumption in the UK, in the context of economic crisis, concerns about environmental sustainability and community cohesion.

Timothy Todhunter, Branch Fundraising Manager, NCT, says: “This exciting piece of work into the social impact of NCT Nearly New Sales will help us to further their reach into the communities which benefit from them most.

“We are thrilled to be given the opportunity to demonstrate how important the Sales are to the UK today, particularly in the current economic climate.”

Kate Boyer, School of Geography, University of Southampton, put the bid forward for a funded studentship to the RIBEN programme. She says:

“We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with NCT on a RIBEN project focused on Nearly New Sales. It is an exciting study, and we are looking forward to seeing the results in three years time when the project comes to an end.

“As a mum myself, I have seen first-hand how popular NCT Nearly New Sales are, and it got me wondering about the broader role they play – not only for parents and families, but also for society, the economy and the environment in terms of sustainability and ethical consumption. This study will make a really valuable contribution to our understanding of the economic, social and cultural dimensions of second-hand retail in the UK.”

Last year, more than 200,000 parents attended an NCT Nearly New Sale, supported by Persil Non Bio and Comfort Pure, raising more than £1 million for the charity. More than 750 Sales were held across the UK, with 50,000 parents selling over 1 million items. In addition, every item bought from an NCT Nearly New Sale is an item which isn’t going to landfill.

Funds raised for NCT from Nearly New Sales go to supporting parents through: providing evidence-based information; national helplines; local services such as breastfeeding and coffee mornings; subsidised or free antenatal and postnatal classes for vulnerable people; training antenatal and postnatal teachers and campaigns to improve maternity services and support for parents in the workplace.