Careless charity shop donors cost Devon Air Ambulance money

Items piled up outside a closed DAAT charity shop in East Devon

Items piled up outside a closed DAAT charity shop in East Devon - Credit: DAAT

Devon Air Ambulance is asking people not to leave donated items outside its charity shops when they are closed, after problems with bags piling up during weekends and holidays. 

Staff returning to the Sidmouth shop after the Christmas break found a large pile of bags in the doorway, some of which had been damaged. 

The DAAT shops can accept donations during opening hours without any need for an appointment, but people who leave goods outside are costing the charity money. 

Spokeswoman Ginette Gisborne said: “We are always grateful to receive donations from those in our local communities, but leaving things outside often means they become unsaleable by the time we get to them and sadly, they have to be disposed of which then incurs a cost to the charity.  

“Over time, items left outdoors can become damaged and exposed, either from poor weather such as wind and rain, by dogs urinating on them and sometimes being looked through by individuals, which upsets the way in which they were originally left tidily for us, in bags and boxes.” 

She added that staff also like to meet donors to arrange Gift Aid, in which the Government pays 25 per cent of each item’s selling price to the charity. 

Hospiscare has a shop in Ottery, but no longer takes donations without an appointment. The charity introduced the appointments system in July last year and said it has led to better quality items being donated, and helped control the volume of goods in the shops. 

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A spokesperson said: “Initially, when we re-opened our shops after the first lockdown and again after the subsequent lockdowns, there was a great concern over the amount of low quality and unsellable donations that we received, which resulted in a significant cost to our charity to dispose of them.” 

Children’s Hospice South West has a shop in Sidmouth and says people do not need to make appointments to bring donations. The charity’s area retail manager Julie Johnston said: “We are welcoming donations of good quality second had items and although people do not need to phone ahead, we always advise people to do so if they have a large number of items to donate or are making a special trip.”