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Author: UTV News -
Published on 11 August 2011 06:00 PM

Charity shops in Northern Ireland say they urgently need donations of clothing and other goods, as stocks are running critically low.

The recession is being blamed for the shortage with people recycling less clothing than ever before.

Age NI's stockroom in Belfast city centre, where donated items are normally stored until they are ready to be sold, is now empty.

Duane Farrell from the charity is asking local people to "look around and dig in the corners" for items they can pass on.

"The reality is that in the shops we can't sell thin air," Mr Farrell told UTV. "We rely heavily on the donations that are normally forthcoming from the public.

"Things have quietened down and we're not putting new stock out on the floor. We do appreciate that times are tough, and people aren't donating or recycling as many goods as they would have historically.

"But look around dig in the corners and we still think there is some stuff in the houses that people can get to us."

Meanwhile Oxfam aren't faring much better, with stock levels at their 25 stores province-wide down by a third.

"The situation is critical and it's entirely down to the fact that with the recession people have less money to spend," Michael Sloan from Oxfam Ireland told UTV.

"They're spending less, they're spending in smaller amounts. They're holding on to what they've got. And that means that we being the recipients of their excess aren't getting it."

Even the famous generosity of the people of Northern Ireland is feeling the effects of the downturn.

While second hand stores are the most inexpensive place to shop, unless donations pick up they could become the latest victims of the recession.

© UTV News

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