Recession hits charity shops

THE CURRENT economic climate is being blamed for the shortage of donations being given to many of the charity shops in Bexhill.

The down-turn is believed to stem from the fact that people are not buying new clothes, and other items, like they would under normal circumstances, and consequently are not throwing much out.

Under-manager of Save The Children charity shop in Devonshire Road, Anne Pitchforth said that normally, they always have a stock-pile, with bags full of clothes, but are now desperately short of items to sell.

She said: "We've noticed a big drop in donations, people are holding on to their clothes and not buying new ones. I think people are saving their pennies as they are not sure what's happening from week to week; no one knows what's going to happen, or who is going to be out of work."

She added: "We've just put out our last bag of winter clothes today."

Similar sentiments were echoed by staff in the Western Road shop of Cancer Research.

They are also in need of more donations and volunteer Lavinia Beattie said: "I believe the shortage is because people just can't afford to buy new things just for the sake of buying now, and are hanging on to the things they have."

Assistant Edyta Panow said that what is also causing a shortage is that on the other side of the coin, it appears that more people are turning to charity shops to buy the things they need - which is placing an added pressure on the charities.

She said: "I think more people than normal are shopping in charity shops and we are selling a lot of stuff which is good – but we can't sell it if we don't have it to sell."

Manager of Scope in Sackville Road, Lesley Warner is also struggling for winter clothes, and said that in addition to the economic situation, she believes that the variable weather conditions are also to blame.

She said: "The people of Bexhill are very generous with their donations, but our stock is definably down on this time last year. I'm not getting the volume of clothes that I normally get, and I've had to put the autumn stock out early. I think it's partly to do with the recession, but also, with the weather being so changeable no one knows when to change from Summer to Winter clothes, or when to clear out their wardrobe, and I think many people are hanging on to what they've got."

One charity shop, which is still receiving donations, is Oxfam in Western Road - although Manager Caroline Short believes this may be due to a promotion which Oxfam have been running in conjunction with Marks & Spencer's, in which she said for every M&S item donated to Oxfam, in return the customer receives a 5 voucher, which is redeemable at M&S when spending 35 or more.

Caroline said: "The recession isn't helping, but for the past six months we have had the M&S promotion which has generated a lot of interest, and because it's gone so well it has recently been extended."

She added: "We also have a parking problem here, particularly if the weather is bad, but we are more than happy to collect. We are always looking for good quality donations."

To have a donation collected by Oxfam in Bexhill call (01424) 217237.

Alternatively visit the web-sites for the charities mentioned at:

www.oxfam.org.uk

www.savethechildren.org.uk

www.scope.org.uk

www.cancerresearchuk.org