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Bristol MPs Urge Charity Con Awareness

Bristol’s Labour MPs have joined with the Charity Commission, trading standards, local authorities and multiple other organisations to warn against a Christmas clothing collection con.

Many people will receive leaflets around this time of year asking for clothes donations – which are a fantastic way to do your bit for charity. However, while the vast majority of leaflets are from genuine registered charities, some are from wholly commercial companies who do not pass any profits on.

Roger Berry (Kingswood), Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East), Doug Naysmith (Bristol North West) and Dawn Primarolo (Bristol South) all urge people to be vigilant when donating clothing to ensure that it ends up with a legitimate charity.

Roger explained:

“It’s vitally important that people follow the recommendations for ensuring that charities they are donating to are legitimate, otherwise they risk their donations falling into the hands of unscrupulous businesses.”

Kerry said:

“The Association of Charity Shops estimates that charities lose between £2.5 million and £3milion every year through theft and commercial organisations falsely claiming to be charities. People need to be extremely vigilant so we can be sure that charities are getting everything that is donated to them.”

Doug commented:

“Christmas is a great time for thinking of others and giving to charity, but it is important to be sure that you donate to a genuine charitable organisation. Just making some simple checks can mean genuine charities receive millions more each year.”

Dawn concluded:

“It’s great that so many people are so eager to donate old clothing to charities, but people just need to be sure they’re not being tricked in the process. If ever in doubt, check on the Charity Commission’s website at to make sure that the charity you’re donating to is genuine.”

As part of the campaign, the Charity Commission will be delivering over half a million leaflets to households across England and Wales giving some great tips for checking the legitimacy of a charity collection:

Does the sack or leaflet say the collection is for a registered charity? If so, what’s the charity number – visit the Charity Commission website to check that it’s genuine.

  • 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 don’t want to answer questions.

[20 December 2007]

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