Council to target bogus charity collections

Posted on Saturday 25th September 2010 at 12:29 pm by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire Council

Following reports from concerned residents, trading standards officers at South Gloucestershire Council are working with children’s charity Barnardo’s to stamp out bogus doorstep charity collections.

A business, using the name Bernhardos, which is thought to be passing itself off as the children’s charity Barnardo’s, has been posting white plastic collection bags through doors in South Gloucestershire urging residents to donate second hand clothing, shoes, jewellery and toys. Anything donated is then collected several days later in the same manner as some other well known charities operate.

The wording on the packaging does not specifically state that Bernhardos is a charity, but is clearly designed to give householders the impression that their donation is for projects which support children.

South Gloucestershire Trading Standards has received a number of complaints from local residents who believe that the name being used is misleading, as well as the information that is given with the plastic bags when delivered. Consequently they are keen to hear from any residents who can pinpoint when and where the bags are being delivered.

Neil Derrick, senior enforcement officer with South Gloucestershire Trading Standards says: “There have been numerous clothing collections going on in the area recently and we are concerned that the public are being consistently misled into thinking they are supporting worthy causes. We want to try and identify when and where the collection bags are initially being delivered, as opposed to being collected, so that we can take action to prevent people being misled into donating in the first place.”

Cllr Heather Goddard, executive member for communities said: “I urge residents to contact our Trading Standards officers if they have received any collection bags from this organisation. Their activities are depriving legitimate charities such as Barnardo’s of the income they need to conduct their excellent work helping vulnerable children.”

A spokesperson for the charity Barnardo’s said: “Barnardo’s has been made aware of local collections being made by an organisation with a similar name, claiming to support disadvantaged children. We would like to remind residents that Barnardo’s only uses professionally produced and properly branded material which clearly identifies the charity and its registered charity numbers.”

They added: “Barnardo’s staff have made attempts to contact this organisation but without success, therefore we are working closely with South Gloucestershire Trading Standards.”

So far the business is known to have been active in the Chipping Sodbury, Emersons Green and Bradley Stoke areas and anyone who can identify deliveries of collection bags as they are happening, for Bernhardos or any other collection which raises suspicion, should call South Gloucestershire Trading Standards on 01454 634009. In particular, details of any vehicles being used would be invaluable.

Anyone wanting to donate to charitable causes is urged to check any claims made in relation to clothing collection type services that operate door to door and, if they have any concerns, to try and donate items direct to local charity shops.

Source: South Gloucestershire Council

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