Supermarket snubs disaster collection

PUBLISHED: 16:31 04 May 2015

Rotary members striving to help victims of the Nepal earthquake disaster have been forced out of Ottery

Rotary members striving to help victims of the Nepal earthquake disaster have been forced out of Ottery

Archant

Fundraisers striving to help earthquake victims in Nepal have been told they cannot collect cash at Sainsbury's - because of a change in policy.

Members of the Otter Valley Rotary Club wanted to act quickly to gather donations for ShelterBox to provide emergency supplies for the millions affected by the disaster, which has so far claimed more than 4,300 lives.

A request for members to collect at the Hind Street supermarket was refused after the retail giant decided to restrict the number of days on which local groups or charities can use the store, to one weekend-a-month.

Rotarian Keith Spittlehouse spoke out against the new rules this week, saying the group had relied on Sainsbury’s as a central hub, and is now being forced to go out of town.

“I’m not very happy with it I must say - it does not help us as a club collecting for this disaster,” said Mr Spittlehouse. “I’m not at all happy.

“My reason for being displeased is that Sainsbury’s came into the community and it should, in my opinion, continue to support the community.

“With the scale of tragedy in Nepal, it is very important that something is done quickly.

“It’s not practical to collect on the street because then we would need a street collectors’ licence.

“It’s the footfall that we need most. People are very generous and will put something in our bucket, but we do rely on getting in front of people.”

He added that the nature of emergency relief efforts means the club cannot apply in advance.

Rotary members had hoped to cover Ottery, West Hill and Honiton, but have been forced to collect in just the latter two places following the change in policy.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We have introduced a calendar to give local charities and community groups dedicated weekends throughout the year to fundraise in our stores.

“This is in addition to the 1,200 charities our stores support through the Local Charity of the Year scheme and the national charity partners we’re involved in.”

The company also says it has made a significant donation to Oxfam to support the Nepal earthquake appeal.

The powerful earthquake that rocked Nepal on Saturday, April 25, has left hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need of urgent help.

Exact figures are still unknown and are expected to rise, with eight million people across the country thought to be affected by the disaster.

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