Worthing Community Chest calls on Tesco not to remove its textile recycling bins

A Worthing charity fears its income could be cut by more than half after Tesco asked it to remove its textile recycling bins from the Durrington supermarket.

Councillor Martin McCabe and councillor Bob Smytherman
Councillor Martin McCabe and councillor Bob Smytherman

Worthing Community Chest receives around £10,000 a year thanks to donations at the three textile bins, which have been located outside the Tesco store for at least three years.

But the charity, which awards small grants of up to £1,500 to groups, clubs, events and other good causes in Worthing, fears these groups could miss out if Tesco takes the bins away.

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Karl Allison, chairman of the Worthing Community Chest, said it would be a ‘major problem’, adding: “Because of where they are, the Tesco bins are incredibly important to us. They are easy to get to.

“We know from doing previous explorations that there is not another site as good as that. It wouldn’t be easy to replace.”

Tesco has said that, following a review of recycling areas across its sites, it had made an agreement to work with The Salvation Army to provide clothing banks and recycling areas at Tesco stores across the country.

The agreement means that some other charities had been asked to remove clothing banks from Tesco stores, a spokesman said.

Mr Allison said the charity was given ‘no warning at all’ and only discovered the news when Tesco placed notices on the textile bins in early December asking for them to be removed within 14 days.

He said: “There was never any notice to us that they were going to do this.

“Legally they’ve got the right to do it, but the way it’s been done is appalling.

“Local groups have not been consulted.

“Earlier warning of their removal would have given us time to seek alternative funding sources but there’s not much you can do with two weeks’ notice over the Christmas period.”

For now the textile bins remain at the site – but he fears they could be removed ‘at any point’.

Three Salving Army recycling points are also now in place at the Durrington store and Mr Allison is calling on Tesco to allow both charities to share the site.

He said there were enough donations to go around and that all six bins were ‘regularly full’.

He said: “We don’t want to remove The Salvation Army’s textile bins at Tesco, we just don’t want them to remove ours. Why can’t we share?”

Local councillors have spoken up in support of the Worthing Community Chest.

Councillor Martin McCabe said removing the bins would be a ‘death sentence’ for Worthing fundraising.

“We’re calling on Tesco to reverse this decision,” he said. “Don’t kill off this vital source for our local fundraising.

“The Worthing Community Chest does amazing work. We’d all love Tesco to keep working with us for the good of the community.”

Jessica Gill from the Worthing Light Festival described the Worthing Community Chest as ‘an outstanding local charity’.

Thanks to a grant from the charity, the festival was able to run ‘a highly successful event which had a positive local impact on more than 10,000 people’, she said.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We recently carried out a review of recycling areas across our store estate.

“This followed a number of serious and on-going issues with fly-tipping which forced us to remove recycling facilities from a number of stores.

“As a result of the review we have agreed to work with The Salvation Army to provide clothing banks and recycling areas at Tesco stores across the country.

“This agreement will ensure that we can continue to provide the recycling facilities our customers want, whilst ensuring that clothing donation banks at our sites continue to raise funds for charity.

“This agreement does mean that some charities have been asked to remove their clothing banks from our sites.”