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Shoppers in Norwich give their views on Oxfam sex scandal

The Oxfam shop in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop

The Oxfam shop in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop

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Shoppers in Norwich said they would be reluctant to go on supporting Oxfam's charity shops as the aid worker sex scandal deepened.

Staff at its stores in the city and King’s Lynn declined to comment on how the allegations have affected their trade or people’s willingness to volunteer or donate items since they surfaced. One said: “I’ve got nothing to say about that.”

Shoma Tahkeur, who was visiting Norwich said: “I used to buy furniture from them but I never will again, and I would not recommend any of my friends too either.

“They should be shut down and the funding should be given to the smaller charities who can be trusted.”

Pamela Cook, 76, from Lowestoft, added: “It just proves what I’ve always thought, I’m not the least bit surprised.

“I donate to three smaller charities who are trustworthy because I feel like with the bigger charities you just don’t know where it’s going.

“As soon as money or aid gets out the country with bigger charities you just don’t know where it goes.”

Caroline Georgieva, who is 20, and lives in Norwich, said: “It’s crazy, it’s not right.

“I believe that the world is going to change for better, but people need to be aware of what’s going on behind the scenes of the shops they buy from and the charities they donate to.”

Mark Jackson, 44 and from Norwich, said: “I feel like the bigger names shouldn’t pull out of funding just because they need to seem to be doing the right thing.

“There’s corruption at the highest level of most big organisations, so I’m not surprised in the least.

“But the people they’re trying to help shouldn’t be affected by the actions of a few.”

The day before the sex scandal broke, Oxfam launched an appeal to attract more volunteers to work in its network of charity shops.

It said last year, its 630 branches and the Oxfam Online Shop raised almost £22m for its work fighting poverty and suffering in more than 60 countries.

Daniel O’Driscoll, Oxfam’s head of volunteering said: “Put simply, without our team of amazing volunteers Oxfam shops could not open. Volunteers really are the heart and soul of our shops and we rely on them and appreciate their contribution hugely.”

Oxfam has issued an “unreserved apology” to the Government, donors, supporters and the people of Haiti over its handling of sex allegations, including the use of prostitutes by workers in Haiti in 2011.

Oxfam’s conduct over the claims, which surfaced last week, has been condemned by the Government - with a threat that millions in taxpayer funding could be cut off.

International development secretary Penny Mordaunt said it had failed to show “moral leadership” and had failed to properly inform donors, regulators and prosecutors about the actions of its workers.

The Cabinet minister for overseas aid was due to meet the boss of the National Crime Agency (NCA) to discuss the scandal.

Miss Mordaunt and NCA director-general Lynne Owens will hold private talks on how they will work together. The Charity Commission is also launching an investigation.

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