Donations of clothes and goods to charity shops run by veterinary charity PDSA have fallen to their lowest-ever level.
The number of bags donated to its 170 shops in the past 12 months has fallen by a national average of 22 per cent compared with the year before. Donations in South Yorkshire have fallen by 47 per cent in the same period, and in Wales by 37 per cent, according to figures released yesterday.
The news came as 5,000 charity shops launched a 'donate, don't waste' campaign to urge people to donate unwanted clothes and other goods rather than throw them away. The Association of Charity Shops said if each household donated one extra bag of clothing, it would raise £740m for charity.
Andrew Holl, director of business services at the PDSA, said the fall was partly due to the recession and partly to poor weather conditions, which deterred people from taking their unwanted items to its shops.
"The weather has had a huge impact on our shops, with heavy snowfall preventing our supporters from making donations," he said.
"People are also keeping hold of their clothes for longer, and are less likely to donate items in the current economic climate. As a result, we've seen stock levels plummet, and many of our stores are facing an all-time low."
Holl said demand for the charity's services had risen by 25 per cent in the past two years.