British Heart Foundation – The Charity at the Heart of Workfare

A recent High Street investigation by Boycott Workfare has unveiled several new workfare sharks operating under our very noses.  Fake hippies Bodyshop, temporary shoe retailers (they fall apart) Shoezone, and Dorothy Perkins are all revealed to use, or to have used, forced labour in their stores.

Dorothy Perkins in particular is interesting as their owners, the Arcadia group, has previously denied any of their stores being involved in workfare.  Surely the huge retailing chain owned by tax dodging bastard Philip Green wouldn’t be lying to us, would they?  This leaves Top Shop, British Home Stores and other Arcadia chain stores with some questions to answer.

Boycott Workfare also single out known workfare exploiters, the British Heart Foundation, as deserving a special mention for their sheer enthusiasm for forced labour.  According to Boycott Workfare, “The manager boasted that 5/6 people will work 30 hour weeks at any one time, with workfare provider Seetec sending fresh replacements at the end of each month!”.

When the workfare row blew up at the beginning of the year many charities issued furious, if not quite honest denials, abut their involvement with the scheme.  Some, such as Shelter and Marie Curie, very publicly distanced themselves from the scheme.  British Heart Foundation (@TheBHF) however remained silent throughout.

From the investigation by Boycott Workfare, it would appear the charity are involved in the Mandatory Work Activity scheme.  This is four week block of forced labour handed out to unemployed people who aren’t deemed to be trying hard enough to find work.  It effectively operates as a system of Community Service for the unemployed, many of whom may have health conditions which might mean full time work is unsuitable.

Some, like Stephen Hill of Derbyshire, may even have serious heart conditions.  Mr Hill tragically died of a heart attack a month after being found fit for work and ineligible for sickness benefits.  Had he lived he might have found himself forced to work in a British Heart Foundation charity shop for no pay.

British Heart Foundation are also known to have used workfare in Edinburgh where they have already faced at least one occupation (pic above).  The charity are the biggest charity retailers in the UK and earned a whopping £31 million in profit last year.  It’s clear that not paying staff is good business.

BHF charity boss Peter Hollins is one of the UK’s highest paid charity bosses.  The latest publicly available figures show he earned a staggering £153,000 way back in 2008.  Predictably he is an Oxbridge toff.

British Heart Foundation have a forum on their website should anyone wish to discuss the organisation’s use of forced labour.  They are on twitter @TheBHF and facebook at:

The Government are now refusing to tell us which charities and companies are using workfare.  Boycott Workfare have some tips on their website of how to track down workfare exploiters.  If you know of any organisation using workfare, or are on workfare yourself, please contact them and help keep the direct action target list up to date:

12 responses to “British Heart Foundation – The Charity at the Heart of Workfare

  1. terrible place,A4e were shouting “heart foundation on the phone their desperate for people”
    i worked there half a day,the manager was a slave driver.never again.

  2. deeply annoying because they’re one of the few charity shops to sell electrical equipment

  3. Easiest way to find out what charities are involved in this work scam, or any other company for that matter, would be for those who know about sites fighting this scam to openly post any company they are force to work for to retain their benefits,

  4. Never go to British Heart Foundation anyway – they test on animals

  5. Pingback: Charity Shops - Living Frugal

  6. Michael Banks

    I’m actually the guy in the middle of the photo of the demo in the BHF shop in Edinburgh, and I can confirm everything you’ve said about this bunch of hypocrites who, like a lot of charities, like to present a ‘caring’ public image but are quite happy to use slave labour when it suits them. They even boasted recently about how their shops were now the most profitable charity shops in the UK… prizes for guessing how the achieved that. If you give money to them, or are thinking of doing so, please DO NOT!!

  7. jeffery davies

    its with great regret that i will never go again into any charity shop or give money as of whot this heart foundation doing may they affect the way its acting to our unemployed people jeff3

  8. Work Programme Supply Chains

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  9. @jeffery davies

    Many charities aren’t involved in workfare – don’t let BHF put you off other charity’s charity shops.

    As for Peter Hollings being an “Oxbridge toff”, what relevance does this have? It is his actions, not his education, that should be criticised. Perhaps some of those at the BHF protest also went to Oxford.

  10. Is this some sort of generalised con trick? The government say you can only be ‘mandated’ to work for a charity (which to the general public, sounds like voluntary work, so they don’t mind) BUT the ‘charity’ can then farm you out to a private company who could afford to pay you – e.g. ‘tomorrows people’ who sent mandated people to work for CPUK to work as stewards at the Jubilee, and the homeless charity BCHA in bournemouth, who farmed people out to wilkinsons and the bournemouth evening echo to name two.Is this common around the rest of the country?

  11. Pingback: Holland & Barrett’s Inaction Reveals the Huge Profits in Workfare | the void

  12. ActuarialChris

    “BHF charity boss Peter Hollins is one of the UK’s highest paid charity bosses. The latest publicly available figures show he earned a staggering £153,000 way back in 2008. Predictably he is an Oxbridge toff.”

    Irritating on so many levels, why does one have to be a ‘toff’ to go to oxbridge? Plenty of state educated people go there but irrespective to this why on earth would it matter where he went to uni? Going to the best universities this country has to offer is hardly something to be ashamed of. Although sadly it appears we’re getting to the stage where it might be, when a good education is something to be apologiesed for in Britain I for one will be on the first plane out.

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