Somerset

Bridgwater's Bibic defends roadside clothing scheme

Bibic in Bridgwater
Image caption Bibic will get £3 for every £5.80 generated from the new clothing collection bag scheme

A Somerset charity is launching a new roadside clothing collection scheme despite the method's recent bad press.

Bridgwater-based children's charity Bibic said it had put steps in place to "address the public's concerns" about the particular way of collection.

From this week, branded bags will be delivered to households across Somerset during a three-month trial.

Somerset County Council said there had been "an increase in complaints" about "bogus clothing collection companies."

Jess Winchester, Bibic's fundraising manager said they understood that charity clothing bags had "some bad publicity".

"No fundraising is easy at the moment is easy to be completely honest," she said.

"We're going to have really clearly branded bags with a charity number that people should look out for.

"If there's no charity number on there, they should get in touch with us.

"The collectors are all going to be really identifiable with Bibic T-shirts and ID badges.

"We're also offering, which is completely new, the opportunity to arrange private collections if they have any concerns about their donated items going missing.

"So we're trying really hard to make this work and make this as easy as possible for the public."

'Sold for profit'

A spokeswoman from Somerset County Council said they were aware of problems regarding the method.

She said they had knowledge of some companies leafleting households asking for unwanted clothing to benefit the needy, when "in reality, the items donated will be sold on for profit."

She advised that "residents should check their small print" and contact Companies House or The Charity Commission to "confirm the status of the trader" if necessary.

"The best way to make sure your donations go to registered charities is to contact the charity direct or take the items to a charity shop," she added.

Bibic's new collections, which will be run by volunteers Mark and Sarah Meaker from Bridgwater, will be introduced permanently if the trial period is a success.

"We feel we want to give something back to the community and this seems an ideal way to raise funds for a very worthwhile charity," said Mr Meaker.

Bibic does not run charity shops and all of the donated items will be sold or recycled, with £3 being donated to Bibic for every £5.80 generated.

The charity currently has a six-month waiting list of children and families wanting to use its services.

"We just hope everyone will really get behind this and support it because it's a really great way for us to raise funds," added Jess Winchester.

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