Charities fear they will lose out in plans for textile banks in Fareham

CONCERNS Recycling bins in a Portchester car park are among those at the centre of a row
CONCERNS Recycling bins in a Portchester car park are among those at the centre of a row

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CHARITIES have raised concerns over a council’s plans to take over running clothing recycling banks on its land so it can take the money for itself.

According to a report to go before Fareham Borough Council’s ruling executive tonight, taking over operation of the banks on council property would create more than £40,000 a year.

There are currently 22 textile recycling banks on council-owned sites across the borough, representing several charities. Last year those banks collected 152 tonnes sold at £275 a tonne, generating £41,800.

But in a bid to create new means of income, the council is looking at ways to take over the service.

However Cllr Sean Woodward, the Tory leader of the council said it would help raise money for charities. He said: ‘All of the proceeds will come to the council, but we will then be able to stream that revenue where we want. I foresee it going into our community grants fund.

‘And I am sure we will look more favourably on local rather than national charities.’

The report also recommends ‘careful consideration be given to handling public relations associated with the proposed change in service,’ and states that many people may not be aware the banks are often operated by private companies and not all proceeds go to the charities.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance has eight banks on council sites.

John Perry, its chief executive, said it has been assured it will be consulted about any changes, and that the banks ‘are an important and successful income stream for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance’.

He added: ‘This form of giving is fitting during these tougher economic times as it allows donors to continue supporting the charity without it directly costing them money.’

The Salvation Army has six banks. Paul Ozanne, national recycling co-ordinator for Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd, said: ‘We fully appreciate the current pressures on all local authorities to maximise income in the current climate – and the difficult decisions they have to make.

‘However, these pressures need to be weighed up against the important investments that charities like The Salvation Army continue to make in communities throughout the UK.’

Councillor Jim Forrest, leader of the Lib Dem group, said: ‘We have to have a guarantee that the charities that have run the schemes so far are protected, or this would be a real slap in the face.’

The meeting is at the civic offices from 6pm.