Devon Air Ambulance welcomes your donations as the post-Christmas clear out gets underway. 

At this time of year, charity shops across Britain see an influx of donations. As new toys and gifts have arrived in many homes over Christmas, they quickly become the new favourites and older ones are moved on. It can sometimes become a struggle to accommodate them all and more often than not, a rehoming exercise ensues.  
It’s not just the children who might find an abundance of gifts under the tree, grown-ups may also find their wardrobes and drawers in need of a ‘sort out’ as brand-new outfits, coats, shoes, boots, bags and accessories have made an appearance. 
We have 19 charity shops across the county and welcome your donations which all help towards environmental sustainability and the cost of providing a vital emergency medical service to us all. However, we want to make sure that we are able to make the most of donations and that they don’t incur any unnecessary costs. 

It is vital that donations are not left outside closed charity shops. These immediately become unsaleable as boxes and bags are soiled by dogs, rummaged through by passers-by and damaged by inclement weather, not to mention becoming potential safety hazards blocking doorways and pavements. In effect, although initial intentions are good, leaving donations outside a closed shop is akin to leaving a bag of rubbish that the charity must then dispose of. 

Pete Vallance, Head of Business Development at Devon Air Ambulance said:

There is nothing we would like more than for you to donate your pre-loved items to us and we want every single item to contribute to our life-saving service. Our shops are hugely successful thanks to the kind people of Devon who keep us well stocked with everything from clothes and accessories, to toys, games, books and bric-a-brac. It is unfortunate and costly to the charity when items are left outside shops that are closed, so I urge you, please wait until our shops reopen on the 4th January and don't be tempted to drive by and drop off your items before then.

Follow these simple tips when gathering your donations together: 

  • Make sure they are completely saleable and not damaged, incomplete or broken – a simple test is to ask yourself: Would I buy it? 
  • Deliver your donations in bags and boxes that can also be donated as special tubs and storage boxes cannot usually be returned. 
  • Wrap more fragile items in bubble wrap or suitable packaging so they don’t become damaged in transit. 
  • Make sure toys, jigsaw puzzles and games with playing pieces are complete – any incomplete ones will have to be disposed of as they are unsaleable. 
  • We can also accept small electrical goods but they must be known to be in good working order – a faulty electrical item should be disposed of at home. 
  • Books can also be donated and those that are not in the best condition will still be accepted as we will pass them on to recyclers who will pay us in exchange. 
  • Clothing that has minor defaults or flaws can also be accepted, such as a missing button or broken zip. 
  • Vintage items are welcomed and should be wrapped carefully to avoid any damage 

As well as the more usual items often donated, we also accept more unusual items including old mobile phones, postcards, foreign coins and used postage stamps. All of these can be handed in at any one of our 19 shops in Devon. 

You can find a full list of what can and cannot be donated on our website here.