Money for old robes concern

Donations down: From left, volunteers David White, Gemma Anderson and Yvonne Hamill, manager of the PDSA shop, in Blandford Street.

Donations down: From left, volunteers David White, Gemma Anderson and Yvonne Hamill, manager of the PDSA shop, in Blandford Street.

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CHARITIES today raised concerns over new schemes offering people cash for unwanted clothes.

A number of outlets have opened across Sunderland over the year, including one at Hylton Riverside Retail Park, which allow people to weigh in clothing and fabrics for money.

But good causes say it draws vital funds away from their coffers which support people in need.

PDSA relies on supporters’ generous donations, such as clothing, to raise vital funds to help owners of sick and injured pets through services such as Sunderland PetAid hospital.

PDSA area manager for the North East, Graeme Allen, feels that the recent increase in businesses swapping money for textiles has hit donations to charity stores.

“The economic climate is no doubt affecting what people choose to do with unwanted items.

“Some may choose to sell, but we hope that people are still able to donate whatever they can to charity shops like ours too.”

Sarah Farquhar, Oxfam’s head of retail operations, said: “Our second-hand shop sales are up 3.5 per cent versus last year, but donations are down by 14 per cent, which is a clear sign that people are hanging on to their older goods or selling them on.

“Within the climate of austerity we have seen a definite increase in the popularity of re-using.

“However, the recession has also caused this worrying drop in donations.

“Oxfam maximises revenue from every donation made and is the only major charity to operate our own clothing recycling plant, Wastesaver.”

Nick Morton, head of retail operations for the Salvation Army Trading Company, said donations have fallen in cities where cash for clothes services have launched.

“Although we can’t say for certain how cash for clothes outlets will affect our charity shop in Blandford Street, these types of schemes have certainly started to affect the level of donations in other areas of the UK.

“One of our shops in Glasgow, for example, has seen a considerable drop in donations since cash for clothes shops began opening nearby.”

“We certainly don’t blame people for wanting to make money from their unwanted clothing and it is vitally important to the environment that textiles are not thrown in the bin, as they will end up in landfill which is very harmful.

“However, we do want people to make informed choices about how they recycle their old clothes.”

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