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Author: UTV News
Published on 14 May 2012 01:00 PM

Environment Minister Alex Attwood is urging the public to clear out all their unwanted clothing and household items and to donate them to charity shops.

His message comes as new statistics reveal that, at 81%, the region has the highest number of people in the UK with unwanted, unused clothing sitting in their wardrobe which could be generating extra income for good causes.

But, in stark contrast, the latest research has also shown that people in Northern Ireland are relying more and more on shopping in charity shops.

Over a quarter of people said that they were shopping more in them in comparison to two years ago.

'Choose Charity Shops' week has been organised by the Charity Retail Association - the UK trade body representing 80% of charity shops - in a bid to raise awareness on the growing demand for donations.

The special week runs until Monday 21 May and the association has teamed up with the DOE's Rethink Waste campaign to get the message across.

Minister Attwood paid a visit to the Marie Curie Cancer Care Shop, Lisburn Road, Belfast to make his donation.

He said: "Choose Charity Shops" is a key week in all charity shops calendars, as the campaign promotes the local presence of these shops all over Northern Ireland and their willingness and desire to receive donations for reuse of items from everyone.

"Many of us - including my family - donate to charity shops."

The Minister said he had also recently purchased bikes for himself and his family from social enterprise venture, the East Belfast Mission.

"Although this week is focused on donations, it's important to remember our local charity shops all year round.

"All items donated to charity shops assist in contributing to diversion of useable materials and goods from landfill making society more sustainable whilst helping a worthwhile cause.

"This is a win win - donation and recycling. Great causes and great people."

Warren Alexander, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association, said: "Charity shops simply can't survive without donations of unwanted items from the public.

"With nearly 6,000 shops participating nationwide, we hope the 'Choose Charity Shops' campaign will remind people to take those clothes and other unused items into their local charity shop - this week and throughout the rest of the year."

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For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575