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Charities call on the public to donate unwanted Christmas gifts


With most of us receiving at least one present we don’t like, want or need for Christmas, now is the time we might be considering what to do with them – and a number of charities are encouraging the public to donate them.

Among them are the British Heart Foundation, Age UK, Air Ambulances UK, the PDSA, and St Giles Hospice.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is asking people to donate quality unwanted Christmas gifts to help fund its research into heart and circulatory diseases.

A survey of 2,010 people carried out for the charity by Censuswide before Christmas, revealed that almost a fifth (19%) of Brits have previously donated their unwanted Christmas gifts to charity.

It found that the main reasons people did so included helping to fund a good cause (54%), decluttering (47%), not liking their gift (33%) and receiving multiples of the same gift (25%).

Of those who had donated gifts to charity, 39% had donated clothes, 19% had donated toys, and 6% had donated gift sets.

BHF asks people to post their donations by downloading a freepost label from the BHF website, book a collection, or to take them down to their local BHF shop. In a year, the charity says it saves over 57,000 tonnes of goods from going to waste and through the reuse and recycling of donated items, helps prevent 130,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions being released into the atmosphere.

Every year millions of Christmas gifts go to waste.
You can stop yours from going to landfill and help power lifesaving research instead.

From unwanted toys and books to clothes and shoes. Simply drop your items to your local store: https://t.co/nXoGyBMjs6 pic.twitter.com/k26uNQTSvk

— BHF (@TheBHF) December 31, 2022

Allison Swaine-Hughes, Retail Director at the BHF, said:

“At the BHF, we see an increase in toys, accessories, homewares, personal tech and books donated at this time of year. Our survey shows us just how many Brits have a post Christmas clear out of the items they don’t need – and how we need more people to donate their unwanted, high quality gifts to us.


“It’s not only free and easy but helps fund our life saving research. Anyone looking to donate to the BHF can visit our website to find out more about the easy, free, and convenient ways to do so.”

To encourage more people to donate their unwanted gifts, Age UK has joined forces with The Wombles – the well-known champions of sustainability, and of nature and the environment.

The Wombles will be popping up in Age UK shops across the country to remind us to recycle and reuse by supporting charity shops in 2023.

So, be a womble and donate your unwanted gifts, goods and clothes to your local Age UK shop and help prevent them from going to landfill. pic.twitter.com/sZ3SYTdM2p

— Age UK (@age_uk) January 4, 2023

The Wombles, who have also lent their support to Remember A Charity Week, will be working with Age UK throughout the year as the characters celebrate their 50th anniversary. Together they hope to inspire people to adopt positive (Womble-style) behaviour, whether by recycling their unwanted items and donating them to Age UK shops, or reusing pre-loved items purchased in the charity’s shops.

Age UK quotes UK Gift Card & Voucher Association research from 2019, which found that every year Brits receive an average of two unwanted Christmas presents each, equating to more than 119.5 million gifts that miss the mark. The research also found that of these, 22.7 million unwanted gifts went to landfill.

Great Uncle Bulgaria said:

“We all have a part to play in looking after our environment and each other, which is why we have teamed up with Age UK.


“By supporting Age UK’s charity shops, both by purchasing items and donating your unwanted items, you will not only be doing your bit for the environment but helping a great cause!


“Funds raised from the charity’s shops will be used to support older people across the country, who often have no one else to turn to. So instead of letting that Christmas gift you’re unsure of go to waste, make like a Womble and donate it to Age UK to be reused and loved again.”

The Wombles and Age UK are also encouraging people to make their donations worth an extra 25% for the charity by signing up to Gift Aid.

The Air Ambulance Service is also calling on the public to give away their unwanted Christmas gifts, saying that charities are the perfect place to re-gift all of those unwanted presents.

In a blog on its site, the charity explains the benefits for charities of receiving people’s unwanted gifts, what they can accept, and how to send them in. The Air Ambulance Service has a number of recycling banks across the country that accept clothing, shoes as well as toy banks which can be found through its bank locater. It also uses ClickSit; a free postage option that allows people to send items for free by filling a box, scanning a QR code or visiting ClickSit for a free postage label, and then dropping the box off at their nearest Collect+ point – or of course, simply to drop off at a local store.

Meanwhile St Giles Hospice, the PDSA, and other charities are also spreading the message to encourage donations.

For some inspiration on messaging, here’s a selection of their tweets:

Don’t need it? Donate it!

Have you had a post Christmas clear out? If so, we’d love for you to donate your pre-loved goods to our charity shops.

Pop into our Burntwood Hub or your local St Giles shop to donate your items today https://t.co/faI2ZPR9Tb pic.twitter.com/TkNzyr7oVr

— stgileshospice (@StGilesHospice) January 4, 2023

Got an unwanted gift from Santa over Christmas? It could be worth a lot to the children and families we support#GiftBack today and make a difference: https://t.co/RqXm2adz3d pic.twitter.com/PFUnSzncYo

— Helen & Douglas House (@HelenAndDouglas) January 5, 2023

Got some unwanted #Christmas gifts? Why not sell them and donate some of what you make to the RDT? Every penny you donate goes towards making a real difference to someone’s life.

— Rainy Day Trust (@RAINYDAYTRUST) January 5, 2023

Unwanted Christmas gifts? Or spare furniture to donate?

Help us turn goods into support for people building back from homelessness.

To arrange a free collection of larger items or for details to drop off, please visit https://t.co/vgbkwzajHe pic.twitter.com/zv41pY2ZsC

— Emmaus Bolton (@BoltonEmmaus) January 5, 2023

Can you #regift any unwanted Christmas gifts to us?

We will use re-them as raffle and tombola prizes at #TeamBodie events throughout 2023 – helping to raise vital funds for our bereavement services.

Drop at Bodies House – drop us a message for more info! pic.twitter.com/SPO5UbE2z0

— Bodie Hodges (@Bodie_Hodges) January 5, 2023

Unwanted #Christmas gifts?

Don’t let them go to waste…Donate them to your local PDSA charity shop, giving them a second life and helping to raise money for poorly pets!

Have a look to see what you can donate and find your local shop: https://t.co/Em3CMMUb2F pic.twitter.com/JheR7eEwRf

— PDSA (@PDSA_HQ) January 3, 2023
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