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Donate unwanted Christmas presents to charity, urges Barnardo’s

Donate unwanted Christmas presents to charity, urges Barnardo’s

Children’s charity Barnardo’s is urging the British public to make the most of any unwanted presents they receive this year by donating them to charity.

The scale of the missed opportunity for Barnardo’s and other charities is considerable. An online poll of 4,459 people by YouGov for the children’s charity found that 44% of people in the UK throw away or forget about an unsuitable gift. More than a third of those questioned (38%) simply put unsuitable presents in a cupboard and forget about them.

Barnardo’s points out that it could sell these unwanted gifts via its national network of 720 shops to help vulnerable children and young people.

Fortunately plenty of people say that they do hand on their unwanted gifts. One in 10 sell them online and 38% do give them to a charity shop.

Unfortunately 12% of those surveyed admit that they have thrown away unwanted gifts.

Pile of rubbish at a landfill site

Unwanted Christmas presents can still do good if donated to charity, argues Barnardo’s

Least wanted presents?

For the second year running’s Barnardo’s asked what people were least keen to receive at Christmas. The top results were:

  1. selfie stick (45%) (number one in last year’s poll too)
  2. musical socks (43%)
  3. bathroom scales (34%)
  4. set of saucepans (26%)
    animal slippers (26%)

Worst gift givers?

The survey also found that the worst relatives or friends at buying appropriate gifts were:

  • in-laws (8%)
  • mother (6%)
  • siblings (6%)
  • father (5%)

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said:

“We all receive the occasional present that may not be our cup of tea. Rather than throw them away, or stick them in a cupboard you can support some of the UK’s disadvantaged children.  Please take any unsuitable gifts to our stores and enjoy a warm feeling knowing your kind act is helping a child that needs your help.”

£10 Re-Gift voucher

To encourage people to donate their unsuitable Christmas gifts to Barnardo’s the charity is offering a £10 ‘Re-Gift’ voucher to spend in store and online at High Street Fashion Retailer, Evans. The vouchers will be available from 24 December 2016 to 31 January 2017, and are redeemable until 28 February 2017.

The research, which surveyed 4,459 people, found that their in-laws (8 per cent), mum (6 per cent), siblings (6 per cent) and dad (5 per cent) were the worst relatives/ friends at buying Christmas gifts.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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