Rubbish’ gifts costing charity

It's the unacceptable side of charity giving - and it's costing one of East Anglia's best-loved good causes a small fortune a year.

It's the unacceptable side of charity giving - and it's costing one of East Anglia's best-loved good causes a small fortune a year.

For out of every treasure discovered in the hundreds of sacks sent to the East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) sorting and distribution centre at Thetford, many more items are only fit for landfill or recycling.

Now the charity has warned that the problem is growing, and costing it more than £10,000 a year to dispose of other people's rubbish.

Officials at the charity called for the public to be more thoughtful when donating their unwanted goods.

The charity, which looks after terminally ill children and provides support to their families, will make more than £400,000 this year through its seven shops dotted around the region.

But Carolyn Emblen, retail manager at the Brunel Way industrial unit, said disposal costs had doubled in recent months, which was "overwhelming" for an organisation mainly dependent on fundraising, gifts from the public, and its shop sales.

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More than 100 bags of unusable clothes are sold every week for rags, and books, puzzles and cardboard materials are recycled, but the EACH distribution centre spends £45 a week, and its seven shops £25 a week, on throwing away items unfit for sale.

Mrs Emblen, who has worked at the centre since its creation two years ago, said publicity about EACH's financial problems had led to a flood of "nice" and "rubbish" donations.

"We get eight van loads of stuff a week and some of it is really nasty like dirty nappies, used condoms, and dirty clothes, to useless things like broken toasters, furred up kettles, chipped ornaments and crockery, used paints and one shoe.

"It is not just us, every charity has the same problem with people taking rubbish to the charity shops rather than throwing it away. We just want people to be a bit more thoughtful when they are sorting their stuff."

"We are grateful for most of it, but we do not want TVs, video players and computers that people do not want any more. If it is not good enough for

them to use themselves and no one is likely to buy it, we do not want it," she

said.

The appeal comes as the distribution centre goes through its busiest period of the year, with people clearing out their closets and lofts prior to the festive season and receiving those unwanted Christmas gifts such as unfashionable ties and jumpers and unnecessary toiletry products.

Mrs Emblen said the charity's shops in Attleborough, Diss, Long Stratton, Wymondham, Cambridge, Colchester, and Cambridge, had increased sales by 26pc this year and were a crucial funding stream for the charity.

The children's charity, which has hospices at Quidenham, near Attleborough, Ipswich, and Milton, in Cambridgeshire, reported a £650,000 shortfall earlier this year after it was revealed that only 10pc of its £4m total outgoings came from government and statutory sources.

> For more information on EACH visit www.each.org.uk.