Textile Recycling Association endorses positive actions to protect reputation of £200 million p.a. charity fundraising clothing collections

The Textile Recycling Association wishes to publicly endorse all the positive initiatives presented at today’s Charity Clothes Collection Symposium in London, which has been organised by the Institute of Fundraising and the Fundraising Standard’s Board.

We have recognised for some time that the problems caused by Bogus Charities and disagreements amongst different charity fundraisers have been undermining public confidence in used clothing collections, which we estimate to raise in excess of £200 million a year for various charitable causes.

Minister Nick Hurd MP said at today’s symposium that he was very pleased about the progress that had been made on tackling problems caused by bogus charity collections, since he convened a meeting of industry stakeholders back in January. He outlined several key challenges including the sharing best practice and building on the work done so far by the police, licensing officers and other bodies. He also highlighted the importance of putting out consistent messages to the public which will drive a wedge between the legitimate charity collections and the bogus charities/criminal gangs, so that the public can give with more confidence.

Tracy Crouch MP who called an Early Day Motion in Parliament on bogus charities in 2010 said that she was very pleased with the progress that had been made to date. Last year when a bag of clothing was stolen the attitude taken was that it was just a bag of clothes. Now the police recognise that this is organised crime, which is often hiding even bigger crimes. However, she also stated that there was still much to be done.

Alan Wheeler – National Liaison Manager at the TRA said

“At the time of the roundtable meeting in January, Mr Hurd cited a number of initiatives, which we had already been instrumental in establishing and were worthy of developing further. This included the charity clothing collectors Code of Practice, NALEO Guidance for council licence officers and the crime detection work that we had instigated with the City of London Police. We already recognised back then that there was a need for collaborative action involving all industry stakeholders and that differences needed to be put aside to tackle the real problems caused by bogus charity collectors and criminal gangs. I am delighted that real progress has been made since January with the vast majority of stakeholders following this mantra. “

However, the TRA would like to see those factions that put out information which seeks to discredit the fundraising choices of other charities to draw a line and to come forward with us in delivering these important objectives.

The TRA welcomes the news that last week of the raids carried out by the City of London Police in Essex and London, which resulted in the arrest of 4 people suspected of masterminding a major criminal racket which stole clothing from charitable collections and obtained donations from the public by parading themselves as “bogus” charities. We believe that this will prove to be the most significant breakthrough to date since the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (based at the COLP) set up their intelligence gathering unit back in 2010.

Further Information
Alan Wheeler – National Liaison Manager
Tel: 0845 6008276