Have a heart and give to charity

BIG DONATION: Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond (second left) with   (left to right) Fiona Turner, Rosemarie Kennedy, Norman Wilford and Alan Walker of the British Heart Foundation
BIG DONATION: Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond (second left) with (left to right) Fiona Turner, Rosemarie Kennedy, Norman Wilford and Alan Walker of the British Heart Foundation

A charity which has targeted Hartlepool for a major health campaign is urging the public to give their support to their newest initiative.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has launched The Big Donation and Hartlepool is in its sights.

Officials want people to take donations to their local BHF shop and support the charity’s biggest ever appeal for stock.

Their aim is to collect more than 600,000 bags of stock this month.

They are hoping people will hand over good quality clothing, shoes, accessories, CDs, DVDs, books, toys and bric-a-brac.

The drive comes at a time when BHF has also spoken out about the levels of donations which make it onto the shelves of charity shops.

New research by British Heart Foundation shops reveals that 70 per cent of charity bags an average householder receives are from commercial companies, working with charities for financial gain, by selling the donated items overseas.

Many people are not aware these commercial companies exist and think 100 per cent of the profits made from their charity bag donations go to the charity involved.

The reality, says BHF, is that in some cases as little as five per cent is paid to a charity who is working with a commercial company.

BHF released the findings in advance of their BIG Donation stock appeal because they think it’s vital people in the North-East understand where their charity bag donations are going so they can make an informed choice when choosing which charity to support.

Retail director for the BHF, Mike Lucas, said: “It is vital commercial companies act responsibly and be transparent on their charity bags – particularly around how much profit the named charity will actually make from a collection. Householders have the right to know what happens to their donations and currently this information is not clear.

“Although this is a legal way to raise money, companies working for commercial gain are a huge problem for charities with high street shops.

“BHF shops do not work with these companies and because of this 100 per cent of the profits made from charity bag donations stay with the charity – helping us continue our lifesaving work”.

BHF bosses urged people to check charity bags and leaflets for information about how much of the proceeds from items go to the charity.

The BHF offers a free collection service for larger items which can be booked online at bhf.org.uk/bigdonation

For more information on the Big Donation and the free collection service visit bhf.org.uk/bigdonation or call 0844 412 5000.

The Mail revealed earlier this year how Hartlepool had become the only British Heart Foundation (BHF) Heart Town in the North at a time when more than 100 people are still dying of heart disease in Hartlepool each year.

Town mayor Stuart Drummond helped launch the scheme back in February along with officials from the charity.

The deal means more will be done communities together through local fundraising and volunteering as well as raising awareness of heart disease and offering residents a raft of support services including to bring people together in fundraising.