Charity loses out on the doorstep

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SUFFOLK residents are being duped into thinking goods they are giving to charity are actually ending up helping the cause.

Instead, they are making money for commercial companies, the British Heart Foundation warned this week.

The BHF, which has shops in Bury St Edmunds’ Abbeygate Street and in King Street, Thetford, has seen takings plummet in the last two years.

As little as one third (30 per cent) of items donated to charity via letterbox charity bags stand a chance of ending up in charity shops, it claims.

New research by BHF Shops reveals that over two thirds (70 per cent) of charity bags an average householder receives are from commercial companies, working for financial gain, by selling items overseas.

Worryingly, three fifths (61 per cent) aren’t aware these companies exist and think profits go to the charity. The reality is that in some cases as little as 5 per cent is paid to a charity.

Eighty two per cent of people who are now aware of this activity say it makes them feel shocked, cheated and disheartened.

BHF says it is is releasing these findings in advance of its BIG Donation stock appeal this September because it thinks it is vital Suffolk people understand where their charity bag donations are going so they can make an informed choice when choosing which charity to support.

Its shops have seen a 36 per cent drop in household collections meaning a loss of £153,454 to the charity in the East of England alone in the past two years.

Retail director Mike Lucas said: “It is vital commercial companies act responsibly and be transparent on their charity bags – particularly around how much profit the charity will actually make from a collection.”

People should take donations directly to BHF shops, it says.