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Plea from Age Concern not to leave charity donations outside

The area manager of Age Concern has made a plea for people to stop leaving donations outside when the charity’s shops are closed.

Mandy Ogden, manager at Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East (SABE), says leaving items outside is flytipping and the implications on health and safety means the items are ‘not saleable’.

She says there is no way of knowing what might have crawled in, on or around the abandoned items and for that reason they need to go straight in the charity’s bins.

She said: “Dog’s walk past, lift their legs – we’ve even had human excrement, you wouldn’t believe the things that go on with our bins and what goes in them.”

Mandy added many donations get left by people on their way to work, but that if donations are left outside overnight, people go through them and ‘then there’s stuff strewn all over the place’.

Items being left outside is not just a nuisance, but wasted revenue for Age Concern, ‘some of which is very valuable’.

“It’s very distressing to see all this stuff just dumped outside the shop,” she said.

“That’s our revenue, if we are unable to use it, then it means our charity can’t sell it which means we can’t do what we’re meant to do.”

Age Concern SABE has a wide range of services designed for the over 50s to help support their independence and wellbeing.

These include information and advice, advocacy services, cleaning and befriending. During lockdown the charity established the ‘Hear for You’ phone helpline and provided food parcels to the needy.

“Our resources are obviously being tested at the moment and when people fly-tip outside our shop, it just makes life so difficult for us,” said Mandy.

Some donated items the charity receives are not resellable, but when they are handed into the shop they can at least be recycled – donations left outside cannot be.

“We do recycle as much as we possibly can and by doing that, although we don’t actually get very much for it, we do get something for it that goes towards the charity,” said Mandy.

Mandy said all charities have to endure the problem of fly-tipping, but that things do seem to have got worse since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

A large number of people have taken the opportunity to have a sort-out at home and restricted access to recycling centres has meant charity shops are the next port of call for anything unwanted. Age Concern shops have restricted opening hours and can only take donations on certain days because the items received must be quarantined.

For contact details for the shop in your area click here.

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