Unwanted gifts help boost charity coffers

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An unwanted bottle of pungent aftershave, a particularly garish woolly jumper or a pair of dodgy knitted socks from a distant relative.

At some point in most people’s lives, they have been on the receiving end of a ‘dud’ Christmas gift: something they do not want but are too embarrassed to return.

But rather than simply stuffing these unwanted gifts in the attic or throwing them out, people in Larne are being urged to donate them to charity shops, who will be more than keen to receive any Christmas presents that would be better suited in another home.

Unwanted toiletries, clothing, books, DVDs, CDs, jewellery; all these unwelcome gifts provide a boost to the coffers of charity shops, and also help those in need along the way.

Jackie Merrell, manager of the Salvation Army shop on Dunluce Street, told the Times: “The donations of unwanted Christmas gifts really do come in handy.

“We rely completely on the generosity of the public, and at this time of year there is usually an increase in the number of items donated,” added Jackie, who has volunteered at the shop for the past 26 years.

“Even if you do not want a particular gift, there is a good chance that someone else will, so I would encourage people to bring it in to us. We accept anything and everything.”

Sharon Steenson, manager of the Cancer Research shop in Larne added: “If you have received a few too many gifts this Christmas then why not donate them to charity?

“Any unwanted gifts are gratefully received and they will make lovely gifts for someone else.”

Larne’s NI Hospice shop manager Michelle Durrell said she was expecting a big influx of unwanted Christmas gifts in the coming weeks.

She added: “We have good support in general all year round, but we do tend to get quite a lot of donations after Christmas.

“Every year people receive presents that are just not to their taste, are the wrong size, or even two of the same gift. These unwanted presents can make an massive difference to charity shops.”

The festive period also provides an opportunity for charity shops to bring in some extra revenue through the sale of Christmas cards.

Michelle added: “The NI Hospice Christmas cards selection has been selling quite well. However, we have seen an increase in the number of people who didn’t buy Christmas cards in 2014, but donated the money they would have spent to charity instead. This is a great idea is very much appreciated.”