Many of us will have taken advantage of the extra time at home to have a clear out of our unwanted but still useful clothing, books, furniture and other household items. As a result, it is expected that the number of us making donations to our local charity shops will be higher than usual in the coming months.
Once storage space has been exhausted, shops will inevitably have a limit on how many items they can accept at any one time. When this happens, or when shops are closed, it can lead to people leaving bags of donations in the shop’s threshold – whilst well meant, this is actually fly-tipping and creates problems for the charities as they then have to divert time and resources to dispose of those items.
Of even greater concern is the fire risk that such items present – lending themselves as a means of combustible material to arson opportunists and may even compromise the premises’ means of escape.
With this in mind, it is important that people either hang onto items for a little longer until shops can start taking donations again or seek an alternative avenue for re-homing their belongings.
Across Dorset and Wiltshire, many communities have developed their own grass-roots initiatives to help unneeded items find their way to a useful new home. Contact your local town or parish council, or check local newspaper and social media pages to see what opportunities are available in your area.
Whichever way you decide to move your items on, don’t dump them in a doorway – be sure to donate.
Arson is the largest single cause of fires attended by Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) nationally. 50.5% of fires were deliberately started in 2017/18. That’s 108,024 occasions where UK FRS resources were made unavailable to attend other critical incidents and deliver essential fire prevention work, because they were engaged with fires set intentionally.* Whilst our Prevention and Youth Intervention teams work to educate around and help people to disengage from firesetting behaviours, more can be done – businesses are responsible for ensuring they take steps to reduce the risk of arson on their premises. Help them to keep up this good work, by refraining from leaving items on their doorstep.
*Figures from the NFCC – https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Arson