Cancer Research UK opens drive-through for clothes donations

The charity is using an old petrol station in Suffolk to make donating more convenient for supporters, and hopes to open similar sites around the country

CRUK's drive-through
CRUK's drive-through

Cancer Research UK has opened a drive-through clothes donation point at a site that used to be a petrol station in an attempt to make it easier for people to donate clothes for sale in its high-street shops.

The station, in Lowestoft, Suffolk, opened on Monday and is operated by local volunteers. A statement from the charity said the station would not be manned 24 hours a day, but had been designed so that people could drop off items securely at any time.

The scheme was developed in response to feedback from supporters that being able to drop off items easily was a key factor when deciding where to donate items, the statement said.

The charity plans to open other stations in locations such as Stockport and Oxford.  

A spokeswoman for the charity said it had made local agreements with landlords to occupy space that would otherwise be vacant.

"Research shows that donors want more convenient ways to donate items to charity shops," she said. "We spotted an opportunity in the market, created by the economic downturn, with many large outlets on retail parks and unused property being vacant.

"The scale of these sites has also offered us new models of stock processing, of developing more centralised systems and potentially offering greater efficiency at a local level."

She described the station as a "convenient drop-off point with plenty of parking", adding that supporters could hand items of clothing to volunteers during opening hours or use a textile bank at any time.

Simon Ledsham, trading and operations director at CRUK, said one of the barriers to people donating items was that they were often unable to find parking outside a CRUK shop.

"We’re confident this scheme will be a successful way of drumming up stock for our shops and raising more money for our work," he said.

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