Charity finds relief over business rates

Sue Berridge with some of the Christmas items for sale
Sue Berridge with some of the Christmas items for sale
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Cards for Good Causes does exactly what it sounds like it does. Each year volunteers sell Christmas cards on behalf of charities.

The cards on sale span 40 local and national charities, from Weston Park Cancer Charity in Sheffield to national causes Age UK and Barnardo’s.

The majority of the money raised goes back directly to each individual charity, with remaining cash going to pay for delivery and warehouse costs.

The not-for-profit organisation is usually based at Sheffield Cathedral, but after its refurbishment a new home had to be found.

Now with the help of the United Reformed Church, Norfolk Street, a new temporary home was found in an empty shop unit in Chapel Walk.

The only downside of being in a shop was the organisation had to pay business rates to Sheffield Council.

Due to the majority of stock not being donated – the cards are provided by the individual charities – it could not be classed as a charity shop.

Sue Berridge, area organiser for Cards for Good Causes, told Action Desk she would have to pay about £3,000 for the few months they will occupy the retail unit in the run-up to Christmas.

Each penny paid to the council meant less would go back to the charities.

Sue had applied for a relief rate from the local authority, but she said this had been declined.

The charity was gearing itself for a huge outlay, until Action Desk stepped in after hearing about its plight.

ACTION

Action Desk put council officials in touch with Sue, and after a few days there was some great news.

Sue told us the rates bill had been cut from almost £3,000 to just £890.

Sue said: “It’s a good saving – well done Action Desk, we are very grateful.”

Councillor Leigh Bramall, council cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “The council has had a number of conversations with a representative from Cards for Good Causes. We have worked with them to discuss what reliefs can be provided and they seem happy with the result.

“We have explained 
why they are not eligible 
for the full relief and, although disappointed, they are happy to receive a significant reduction.

“Some types of rate relief cannot be given, because of how the premises are used.

“This is the law and something we don’t have control over. This is the 
case with the location 
temporarily taken up by Cards for Good Causes on Chapel Walk.”