6 December 2007
Lynne Jones MP
warns against Christmas clothing collection con
Lynne Jones, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, this
week joins the new consumer awareness drive across England and Wales to help people check
whether a clothing collection is for charity or not. The
aim is to ensure that people who want their donated clothes to go to a charity know what
information to look out for on leaflets and bags that come through their letter box in the
run-up to Christmas.
While the vast majority of leaflets distributed
to households are from genuine registered charities, many are from wholly commercial
companies who do not pass any profits on to charities. The awareness drive is being led by
a group of bodies including the Charity Commission, Cabinet Office, Trading Standards,
local authorities and the Association of Charity Shops.
The Association of Charity Shops estimates that
charities lose between £2.5 million and £3 million a year through theft and people
giving clothing to commercial organisations they mistakenly think are charities.
Half a million leaflets are being delivered to
householders in areas across England and Wales where there has been particular confusion
with clothing collections that look charitable but are not. The leaflets give top tips for
spotting a genuine charity collection:
Does the sack or leaflet say the collection is
for a registered charity? If so, whats the registered charity number call
0845 3000 218 or visit the online register of charities at www.charitycommission.gov.uk to check that
Do they only give a registered company number?
This just means that the organisation is registered with Companies House.
Is the charity actually named? Be wary of
wording that just says families in need or sick kids at Christmas
Does the leaflet or bag give a phone number?
The absence of a phone number may mean the collectors dont want to answer
Lynne Jones MP said,
I want to help people make sure their
generosity goes to a genuine charity. Id
urge everyone to check on the Charity Commissions website at www.charity-commission.gov.uk, or call
them on 0845 3000 218, if they have any doubts.
To speak to Lynne Jones, please call 020 7219
Notes to editors:
For interviews and filming opportunities call:
Charity Commission: Sarah Miller on 020 7674 2366 or 07787 863
015 (out of hours).
Association of Charity Shops: David Moir on 020 7255 4483
For interview bids for Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector
call: Cabinet Office press office - Steve Coomber on 0207 276 0317
Colour copies of the awareness leaflet and poster are available.
1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator for
charitable activity in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for more
2. The Office of the Third Sector sits at the heart of
government in the Cabinet Office. It is responsible for government policy towards
charities, voluntary groups, social enterprises and other third sector organisations and
aims to create the conditions for them to thrive. See www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/thirdsector
3. The Association for Charity Shops represents charities that
run shops as part of their fundraising activities. It has 270 member charities, ranging
from the largest national charities to locally based hospices that together run 6,700
shops. In 2007, they will raise £110m for charitable causes. See www.charityshops.org.uk.
4. Charity Commission
spokespeople are available for interview and comment, with regional statistics and data on
charities and charitable giving.
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