The strange charity donations of south west London

When thinking about donating to charity, your mind might be drawn to the old clothes or books lying about the house, but for one south west London charity, donations have come with a surprise.

A south west London branch of Princess Alice Hospice claims to have received donations of sex toys.

Princess Alice Hospice provides free palliative care and bereavement support services for south west London, Middlesex and Surrey.

A source at one of the charity shops said: “I can safely say I didn’t look into them that much.”

Other peculiar donations alongside the vibrator include used toilet seats, a used ornate toilet brush and complimentary holder, as well as used underwear.

None of these items were offered for sale.

The source added: “Some people genuinely just really want to give us nice stuff as donations, on top of that, we also get stuff that people want to get rid of and don’t want to put in the dump.”

They also explained that the store receives high-end donations like Gucci scarves, as well as collectible records and books.

The source stressed that the charity was extremely grateful for the generosity of the public.

Strange charity donations
STACKS AND STACKS: A pile of donations in the backroom

The pace of donations can be relentless, with up to 60 bags received daily and volunteer numbers still to recover from the pandemic, finding sellable items is challenging.

Unusual donations put a strain on the charity’s efforts as they have to pay for the disposal of all unsellable items.

A study released by the think tank Demos into the health of the charity sector found that 28 of the 50 biggest charities raised £60 million pounds through emergency campaigns in 2020, which many smaller charities like Princess Alice could not match.

The hospice’s funds depend greatly on the generosity of the community, with 76% of charity funds coming from retail operations, donations and legacies.

In 2019, Princess Alice Hospice’s retail stores helped to raise half a million pounds to fund the charity’s mission.

A Princess Alice Hospice spokeswoman said: “As a small local charity our shops and their loyal customers are extremely important to the Hospice and our ability to care for and support the most vulnerable members of our community when they need us most.”

Per the 2021 Princess Alice Hospice Trustees’ Report, the hospice expects retail and fundraising income to recover 2021/22 and return to pre-pandemic levels by 2022/23.

Donations can be made to Princess Alice Hospice through this link.

Featured image credit: Ann Rapstoff, Flickr, April 24 2001

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