Air Ambulance charity losing £1,000 a week to dispose of waste outside Stevenage warehouse

PUBLISHED: 13:14 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:14 08 July 2020

EHATT staff with bags of donated rubbish. Picture: EHAAT

EHATT staff with bags of donated rubbish. Picture: EHAAT

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Essex & Herts Air Ambulance is calling on residents to stop illegally disposing of their household waste at its collection warehouse in Stevenage – a habit which is costing the charity about £1,000 a week.

The warehouse, in Gunnels Wood Road, stores goods which are sold through the charity’s nine shops across Essex and Hertfordshire. Since it reopened on June 29, staff have been dismayed to find many of the bags and boxes of donations have turned out to be household rubbish.

Donna Lee, the charity’s head of retail, said: “As well as staff facing the disgusting and time consuming job of sorting through other people’s domestic waste, it’s currently costing us in the region of £1,000 a week to dispose of it using industrial skips. That is money that should be helping to keep our life-saving service operational.

“The first box I opened this morning was full of old birthday and Christmas cards. Someone had even gone to the trouble of cutting out the names so that we couldn’t see who they were from. Inside the box there were used tissues, empty bottles of aftershave, a mouldy deodorant stick, empty bottles and petrol receipts.

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Donna added: “This is a daily occurrence at the moment. We will now be asking donors to put their items in clear plastic bags or open the bags so that we can see what is inside. This will add to the time it takes to leave donations – but we are confident anyone who genuinely wants to support their local air ambulance will be happy to spend a few minutes longer doing so.”

EHAAT’s Stevenage collection warehouse is currently open on Monday and Thursday to receive donations. On July 11, the charity’s shop in Hitchin will be the first to one to reopen, followed by Royston on July 18 and Buntingford on July 25.

Newly donated items are quarantined for 72 hours before staff can handle them. The same arrangements will apply for donations at each of the charity shops once they reopen. Residents are also asked not to leave donations outside the shops at any time as they may be stolen or damaged by the weather, making them unsellable.

The charity is currently unable to accept CDs, books, videos and DVDs due to the huge volume of these items that they have received recently.

For more information about EHAAT’s shops and when they will reopen, visit ehaat.org/shops


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