Local MP warns against Christmas Clothing collection Con

December 11, 2007 5:10 PM
Charity Commission

Mark teams up with the Charity Commission to warn constitutents about Christmas clothing con

Mark Hunter, MP for the Cheadle Constituency is supporting a campaign to warn his constituents against bogus charity clothing collections. Mr Hunter this week joined the new consumer awareness drive across England and Wales to help people check whether a clothing collection is for charity or not, and signed a Parliamentary motion in support of the campaign. The campaign aims to ensure that people who want their donated clothes to go to a charity know what information to look out for on leaflets and bags that come through their letter box in the run-up to Christmas.

While the vast majority of leaflets distributed to households are from genuine registered charities, many are from wholly commercial companies who do not pass any profits on to charities. The awareness drive is being led by a group of bodies including the Charity Commission, Cabinet Office, Trading Standards, local authorities and the Association of Charity Shops.

The Association of Charity Shops estimates that charities lose between £2.5 million and £3 million a year through theft and people giving clothing to commercial organisations they mistakenly think are charities.

Mark Hunter MP passes on the campaign's top tips for spotting a genuine charity collection:

1) Does the sack or leaflet say the collection is for a registered charity? If so, what's the registered charity number - call 0845 3000 218 or visit the online register of charities at www.charitycommission.gov.uk to check that it's genuine.

2) Do they only give a registered company number? This just means that the organisation is registered with Companies House.

3) Is the charity actually named? Be wary of wording that just says 'families in need' or 'sick kids at Christmas'

4) Does the leaflet or bag give a phone number? The absence of a phone number may mean the collectors don't want to answer questions.

After signing the motion Mr Hunter said "I want to help people in the Cheadle area make sure their generosity goes to a genuine charity. So many charities need our support, and Christmas is a great time to help them - it would be a shame if people don't give to charity because of these unscrupulous con-men.

Instead I would urge everyone to check on the Charity Commission's website at www.charity-commission.gov.uk, or call them on 0845 3000 218, if they have any doubts about the validity of the people they are donating to."

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