My week: Michael Lomotey

The head of Clothes Aid has to cope with thefts from its charity collections in Birmingham.

Michael Lomontey
Michael Lomontey

Monday: My colleague Marie Chowdry and I discuss the sustainable clothing roadmap initiative, which has been launched by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to cut back on waste in the textile industry. The amount of clothing consumed in the UK is just over two million tonnes a year, which is a lot of cardigans. But the real shock is in what goes to landfill - 1.3 million tonnes. That's about four billion skinny-fit T-shirts and Kate Moss dresses going underground (maybe that's for the best for some fashion items). Although 300,000 tonnes of clothes are recovered by charities and their agents, Dr Dorothy Maxwell, who leads the programme, wants to further reduce what goes to landfill.

Tuesday: Reactive work is always on the cards when the thieves are out. I'm in charge of protecting our charity collections. In the West Midlands, people have seen one particular vehicle stealing more than 12 tonnes of donations in the past eight weeks, and it's been seen again today.

My team is negotiating with Birmingham police to accept that the charities, for whom we work, are the victims. Individual officers are mostly supportive, but I struggle to accept the police force's excuses of 'resource constraints' and 'target-led policing'.

Wednesday: Today has been dominated by me worrying about what the yummy mummies at my daughter's swimming class will think of the sponsored facial hair. I've been growing it for the Tacheback campaign being run by male cancer charity Everyman. It's been a tickly experience, but the campaign has raised more than £500,000 so far.

Thursday: I've held discussions with the Cabinet Office about our joint anti-theft media campaign, to be launched in the first week of December. Clothes Aid has won support from all political parties. Jo Swinson, MP for Dunbartonshire East, and Ed Miliband, Minister for the Cabinet Office, are our strongest supporters in the campaign to stamp out the theft of charity donations and to regulate door-to-door collections.

Friday: My team is in charge of Clothes Aid branding. We've got a fantastic website and I've just ordered new uniforms for our network. But I'm a little frustrated and saddened by the fact that not one fair-trade wholesaler has been able to supply 300 fair-trade polo shirts. What does this say to those of us who wish to push the fair-trade agenda into the mainstream?

- Clothes Aid collects donations on behalf of charity partners such as Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

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