CHARITY shop bosses say cash-for-clothes outlets are damaging their own collections.
The Barnardo’s shop in Carlton Corner, Hartlepool, has seen donations of bags of clothing drop by half since the onslaught of schemes where people are paid in exchange for goods.
Bosses say people selling clothes on eBay has also hit their own sales.
The town’s Barnardo’s branch is one of 22 of the charity’s chain of shops in the region that between them made £70,000 profit last month alone. But it is now desperate for donations.
Branch manager Catherine Braithwaite said: “We have seen a big drop in donations, probably by half.
“We rely on donations so if people are taking their clothes to cash-for-clothes schemes, it’s obviously going to make a big difference to things we get in and to our takings.
“The money from our charity is used for projects in Hartlepool whereas these people aren’t using the money for the benefit of the town like Barnardos do.”
Mrs Braithwaite said the shop’s takings go to town-based projects that help children, including Hartlepool Borough Council’s children’s services.
She added: “We have people who have given to us for years and years.
“We understand in the current climate people are desperate for whatever funds they can get.
“But we ask them to think about us.
“We are absolutely desperate for donations and the people we support are absolutely desperate for help.”
But Steven Brown, who runs a number of We PayCycle shops across Teesside, including two in Hartlepool, says cash-for-clothes initiatives like his benefit charities, as well as boost his business and customers’ pockets.
He also rubbished rumours on an internet forum that people were stealing clothes put out for charities and taking them to his outlets.
He said: “If they are other charities’ bags, we don’t accept them, but if they are in black bags there is no way of telling their origins and nothing we can do about it.”
Mr Brown’s town businesses, which offers £5 for every 12kg of clothes, were opened in May.
But Mr Brown said: “People have the right to get money themselves.
“Why should they give clothes away when there’s a value to them.
“People still give to charity and so do we.”
He said his company donates cash to local charities, including TFM’s Cash for Kids Appeal, an orphanage in Africa and the shop’s had also recently donated £100 to town youngster Talia Foster, who suffers a daily ordeal of seizures, as well as clothes to third world countries.
Mr Brown added: “For every kilo we collect we make a donation to charity.
“We are making money, customers are making money and charities are getting something out of it – there are three winners.
“It’s not all about getting money for stock, we give a lot back.”