British Heart Foundation view on clothes collections dubbed 'strident and negative'

Make-A-Wish Foundation says it fears the heart charity is trying to carve itself a monopoly on the doorstep

Charity collection bags
Charity collection bags

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, the charity that grants wishes to young people with life-threatening conditions, has criticised the British Heart Foundation over its stance on charity bag collections.

Research published by the BHF yesterday said that only 30 per cent of charity clothing collection bags received by the public were from charities that then sold the clothes in their shops.

The BHF called on commercial companies that send out the rest of the bags on behalf of charities to be more transparent about how much charities get from the sale of collected goods that are sold abroad rather than going to charity shops.

Karen England, director of fundraising at the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which uses the commercial clothing collections company Clothes Aid for door-to-door collections, said she was becoming increasingly concerned that the BHF was trying to carve out a monopoly for itself.

"The BHF is taking a very strident and negative view on this, and that risks harming public confidence in charity bags," she said.

England said a massive proportion of clothes still ended up in landfill sites, so it was important people were given plenty of opportunities to recycle their clothes, particularly if they could help charities at the same time.

In a statement, Make-A-Wish said it had made more than £700,000 from working with Clothes Aid since 2006, with the costs involved in the collections being covered by Clothes Aid up front.

The NSPCC, which has worked with Clothes Aid since 2009, said it had raised more than £1.7m through this method of fundraising.

Alan Wheeler, national liaison manager for the Textile Recycling Association, said doorstep collections entailed significant collection costs that had to be met by the charity if they did the collection themselves.

"We would like to see all charities that hide their costs brought into line with the rest of the industry by declaring their costs, so that the public are able to make a fair and informed choice about which charity collections they wish to support," he said.

A spokeswoman for the BHF told Third Sector that revenue from its shops totalled £124m last year.

After taking account of all the overheads involved in running the shops, including costs associated with collecting the goods from the public, she said the profit was £26m. This meant about 21 per cent of the revenue went to the cause.

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