Careless charity shop donors cost Devon Air Ambulance money

The Topsham DAAT charity shop doorway after the Christmas break

The Topsham DAAT charity shop doorway after the Christmas break - 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 at the charity’s shop in Topsham returned after the Christmas break to find a mound of bags in its doorway – even though all the shops had put notices in their windows and on Facebook asking people not to leave items outside during the closure. 

The air ambulance also has charity shops in Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, and they can all accept donations during opening hours without any need for an appointment. 

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 shops in Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, but no longer takes donations without an appointment. The charity said the appointments system introduced last July 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 shops in Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, 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.”