Oxfam has launched its first ever national emergency appeal for stock donations following a fire at its Wastesaver recycling facility in Huddersfield that caused the biggest loss of donations in its 69-year history.
The charity is calling on the British public to help it overcome the “unprecedented loss” by donating unwanted clothing and accessories to local Oxfam shops or donation banks. The appeal is being backed by big names from fashion and retail including Whistles chief Jane Shepherdson and Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemmingway.
Oxfam said the fire on 30 April had wiped out the clothing stock held for its popular festivals shop, which last year raised £250,000 and was scheduled to be at seven of this year’s biggest festivals, including Glastonbury, Leeds and Bestival.
Trading director David McCullough said: “Our staff have been absolutely amazing, showing incredible spirit and resilience to get our sorting operation back up and running in the toughest of times. We’ll be back up to full operations again very soon, but the situation is so severe and unprecedented that we’ve launched an emergency appeal for stock for the first time in our history. Now more than ever, we urgently need donations so we can keep raising money for our work around the world.”
Oxfam Wastesaver’s entire processing facility was destroyed by the fire (see picture), which contained hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of specialised machinery and donated stock. The damaged building was the main production facility, but two nearby Oxfam storage facilities were undamaged. The charity is now looking for temporary premises and in the meantime, the Wastesaver team has set up temporary methods of sorting and processing donated stock.