Hospice urges supporters to brush up on donation etiquette

Supporters of a Lincolnshire charity are being asked to be careful when it comes to donating items.

St Barnabas Hospice's recent donation drive.
St Barnabas Hospice's recent donation drive.

After a difficult 2020, St Barnabas Hospice has enjoyed a good start to this year with donations to its charity shops pouring in, but the Hospice is asking generous supporters to make sure they donate responsibly.

Thanks to a rerun of its hugely successful Donation Drive-Thru at its Lincoln headquarters, St Barnabas now has received more than 50 tons of donations and enjoyed a six percent increase in turnover compared to the same period in 2019.

However, the charity has noticed a spate of donated items being left outside shops during closing hours, and while the Hospice appreciates that this is often done with good intentions, it does unfortunately mean that many of these items are rendered unsellable and St Barnabas may have to pay to dispose of them.

If the supporter is spotted leaving the items, they may also face a council fine for fly-tipping.

Head of retail, Caroline Peach, said: “We’ve been really impressed with the sheer volume and quality of donations that have been coming through. Our staff and volunteers have sorted these for a combined total of more than 2,000 hours.

"The only drawback to this influx of generosity is the amount of goods we’ve seen left on our doorsteps overnight and when shops are closed. We do have signs up in our shop windows, but it may be that people don’t see these when it is dark.

“People are often surprised that this is the law, but we don’t want to see any of our wonderful supporters facing unnecessary fines for trying to do an act of kindness.

"We always make sure that the items we sell are of a high quality, and sadly, the items left on the street can be ruined in a matter of hours from either curious passers-by, animals or the weather. It’s best to call us if you have any questions about donating; we’re always pleased to direct you to the appropriate shop.”

Since reopening, some of the donations the Hospice has received have meant hundreds of pounds in sales.

Caroline adds: “We’ve been so impressed with some of the donations, for example, we’ve been able to sell two beautiful telescopes for £560, a silver golfing trophy for £176, a Playstation VR headset for £175 and a rare 1990s board game for £100.

"Thanks to our volunteers who research value and audience for these items, we’re able to raise an appropriate amount for those needing hospice care.”

For those donating, the Hospice has provided a few tips to enable safe donations:

1. Only donate washed clothes; dirty clothes can be a health risk, can’t always be cleaned immediately and often cannot be sold at all.

2. Check inside pockets, bags, etc. to make sure you haven’t accidentally donated something you didn’t mean to.

3. Ask yourself, would you wear it yourself? If not, would anyone else?

4. Is it complete? Those DVDs will sell, but are all the discs in the right boxes? Is that jigsaw puzzle complete? Is that vinyl in good, playing condition? If not, then it’s probably not going to go on the shelves.

5. Are you eligible for Gift Aid? Let St Barnabas know and they can claim an extra 25 percent from the Government on the value your items sell for.

For details of how to donate to St Barnabas through their charity shops, central warehouse or furniture collection service, visit St Barnabas Hospice's website.