Guidance aims to provide clothing collection clarity


28 July 2011

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has produced guidance aimed at assisting the public in understanding the often blurred distinction between clothing collections which benefit charities and collections which constitute private commercial enterprise.

The release of the guidance follows a number of concerns raised by the public in relation to clothing collection campaigns. The Commission aims to ensure, through this guidance, that the public can make a confident and informed decision when donating clothes and fabrics.

While clothing collection for commercial purposes is a wholly legitimate private venture, the Commission is not tasked with regulating this activity. The Commission has, in the recent past, worked with other statutory agencies such as Trading Standards on issues related to clothing collection.

The Commission, as the new independent regulator of Northern Ireland charities, is focused on increasing public confidence in charities and promoting best practice within the charitable sector. This includes increasing public understanding of the legitimate function of charities and ensuring the appropriate and transparent application of charitable assets.

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission takes up the point:

"Often the grey area between charitable and private clothing collections has unwittingly frustrated the intentions of donors.

The guidance is clear and practical; it is extremely useful for members of the public who have good intentions but are unsure as to whether they are supporting legitimate charitable purposes"

In certain instances, furthermore, the Commission can intervene where things have gone wrong within a charity, involving, for example, instances of misconduct or mismanagement. If a member of the public has a concern about the operation of a charity, they can visit the CCNI website for more information

The CCNI website also includes a list of charities to which the powers of the Commission apply. For more information on this list please visit

View the guidance as a PDF


1. The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the new independent regulator established under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.

Media Contact

Please contact Sinead Glackin, CCNI Communications Officer, on 02890515492 or 07827338978 for further information.

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