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Brexit stockpiling hits charities

Charities relying on donated goods are being negatively impacted by Brexit stockpiling, as companies worried about Brexit hold on to products that would usually be passed on to charities, putting them at risk of closure.

Brexit uncertainty could lead to the closure of charities that rely on unwanted company goods, it has been claimed. In Kind Direct, a charity that distributes goods from companies such as Asda, Samsung and Unilever UK, said the value of products it had passed on was down by £500,000 on its forecast for the first quarter of 2019.

It blamed the decline on companies stockpiling products in advance of the original 31 March Brexit deadline. Robin Boles, chief executive of In Kind Direct, said some products, such as shampoo, which have a use by date, were released from storage after the deadline was missed, enabling it to clawback over £200,000 of the £500,000 shortfall by the end of June.

But she said ongoing Brexit uncertainty remained a concern, particularly as a survey by the charity in February revealed 75% of beneficiary organisations said products sourced from In Kind Direct enabled them to keep going.

"These products provide vital support to so many of the thousands of charities we support," Robin said.  "Without these products we fear that many of the charities in our network will be forced to close their doors or reduce the service they are able to provide and this will have a massive impact on the millions of vulnerable people they support. And this is all before any issue of tariffs arises."

She said it was understandable companies were having to manage their stock carefully but urged manufacturers and retailers "to continue to supply products charities need to run their services and provide to those most vulnerable in our communities".

Hygiene products such as shower gel, detergent and washing up liquid were among the items affected, which Boles said meant families had to choose between eating and staying clean. Donations of IT equipment, small appliances and tools have also fallen.

Read : Third Sector – Brexit stockpiling hits charities relying on donated goods