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Daisy Chain and the Rise of Charity Retail

Celebrating 20 years in 2023, Daisy Chain was founded by Lesley Hanson and her husband, Duane in 2003 following their son, Jacob’s diagnosis of autism.  Lesley wanted to create a safe, nurturing environment for autistic children and adults and following extensive fundraising, her vision was realised when the doors to Daisy Chain were officially opened two decades ago.

The charity now supports over 5,000 autistic and neurodivergent individuals and families with the provision of social clubs, respite care, wellbeing, independent living skills, employability and animal therapy. In addition, there are sports clubs, musical theatre, performing arts groups and support for siblings on offer.

Of course, all the wonderful things that Daisy Chain do requires funding, there appears to be no shortage of fundraising activities to support this amazing cause from skydiving to bake sales, sponsored silences and walks. Throughout the year events are hosted that bring local communities together and raise vital funds.

It seems with the fundraising and events taken care of the obvious next step is to venture into charity retail. Not content with the relatively recent emergence of charity superstores, Daisy Chain have gone one step beyond, to open their first charity megastore based in Gateshead to add to their Superstore, distribution centre and coffee shop in Stockton-on-Tees; they are for sure, on the charity retail map.

The rise of the charity retail store to that of a megastore is a bold move and one that is well justified by the support of Daisy Chain, both regionally and nationally, coupled with the global drive for sustainability and the current cost of living crisis.

Boasting multiple departments from clothes to entertainment with everything else in between the layout is reminiscent of the many department stores that filled the high street in recent times. There is something for all budgets with a department specifically for furniture and one for children along with premium lines including high end fashion from the likes of Balmain and Ralph Lauren. With progressive plans to include a collectables and antique segment within their 23,000 sqft. space the future is looking bright for Daisy Chain.

The sustainability agenda has seen growth of sales across a multitude of charity retail spaces of all shapes and sizes in the last few years, what better way to decrease your carbon footprint and ease the pressure on your pocket than shopping?

BMc Azurri was privileged to be involved in the provision and installation of the point-of-sale equipment to Daisy Chain along with digital signup and our Gift Aid system; those who spent time on site were impressed with the passion, commitment and determination of those forming part of the charity’s team.

As fast fashion appears to go out of fashion, the high prices of the old high street have given way to a new retail phenomenon – sustainable, affordable and a force to be reckoned with.

We wish Daisy Chain the very best in their retail endeavours and look forward to supporting them in their journey.


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