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‘Love Me Tender’: Barnardo’s wants your old £5 notes

‘Love Me Tender’: Barnardo’s wants your old £5 notes

Barnardo’s is reminding the public that the old £5 notes will cease to be legal tender on 5 May, and asking that they consider donating them to charity.

Even though the withdrawal date of the old fiver has been known for many months, there are an estimated 160 million of the notes still in circulation. These are worth £800 million.

The old paper (actually they are made for cloth) notes feature the image of prison reformer Elizabeth Fry on the reverse. Barnardo’s are pointing out that Thomas Barnardo was also an ardent social reformer. In use since 2002 it began to be replaced by a new £5 note bearing the image of Winston Churchill last September.

New polymer £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill

The new £5 notes, printed on polymer, were introduced in September 2016, featuring an image of Winston Churchill on the reverse. The “first fiver” campaign created by John Thompson, which urged the public to donate their first new fiver to charity, raised an estimated £12.5 million according to research by CAF.

The opportunity to raise funds from the withdrawal of the Elizabeth Fry £5 has been raised before, sometimes with the hashtag #FinalFiver.


“Small fortune”

Barnardo’s director of Fundraising, Sarah Lee, said: “There is a potential small fortune hiding in old purses, pockets or down the backs of sofas that could be donated to good causes.

“Five pounds may seem small but little amounts can add up to make big differences to the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people.

“Elizabeth Fry shared many of the ideals of the man who created Barnardo’s, including work with the homeless and vulnerable, so donating a banknote that carries her image to Barnardo’s would be a fitting tribute.”

Paper £5 note withdrawal poster - Bank of England

Paper £5 note withdrawal poster – image: Bank of England


What £5 could achieve

Barnardo’s cites examples of what £5 donations could pay for:

·        Five fivers (£25) will help pay for a case worker to give life-changing practical support and safety advice to a young person affected by sexual exploitation.

·        Ten fivers (£50) will pay for 10 young carers to go on outings to the cinema or a bowling alley, so they can have fun with other children and enjoy a break.

·        200 fivers (£1,000) will allow a family with disabled family members to go on a day out together, covering the cost of bus hire, specialised equipment and carers.


How to donate fivers

People can donate their old five pound notes at any of Barnardo’s 720 charity shops or they get involved in the spirit of the ‘Final Fiver’ campaign and donate £5 via the Barnardo’s JustGiving page, the Barnardo’s website or by text – sending text ‘FINAL FIVER’  to 70500.


  • Is your charity joining in the #FinalFiver campaign? Share examples in the comments below.


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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