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Clothing collections :
1. The Hand of Help Ltd and
Kaunas disabled organisations (Lithuania)
2. Hand of Help UK Ltd

'The Hand of Help Ltd' clothing collection leaflet - Nov 2009
'The Hand of Help Ltd' leaflet - Nov 2009

Related pages :

Intersecond Ltd - another collector which supports Lithuanian charities

Various pages on the drop-down menus under the heading 'Examples of collections'

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

A clothing collection:  Does it need a collection licence?  Is it 'charitable'?

Licensing of charitable clothing collections - monitoring and enforcement

1. The Hand of Help Ltd
and Kaunas disabled organisations

The collection company - 'The Hand of Help Ltd' (THOH)

Registered company address:  Forest House, 8 Gainsborough Road, London E11 1HT.

This is an 'accommodation address' - according to the Guardian (see below).

Website:  www.thehandofhelp.co.uk  

The company was incorporated in 2005.  It's run by Lithuanians.

They abbreviate their name to 'THOH' on some of their leaflets.

The company's website states that the "company ... complies with all UK legislation".

At mid 2009, the website stated they donate 50% of their profits to two organisations in Lithuania :

At November 2009, the company had added a third organisation to their leaflets (Unicef) :

"Donate your unwanted clothes and we donate 50% of
 our commercial profit to children's charities and
Lithuanian National Unicef Committee"

The organisations supported - 'Kaunas Disabled from Birth' etc

Websites :

The '.LT' suffix on the websites above indicates Lithuania.

Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania.  The city's population is 350.000.
See Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaunas  

The collections

House to House Collections Act 1939 (Crown copyright HMSO)

Are the collections 'charitable'?  Do they need collection licences?

Note: For the background on this, see the following page :

The word 'charity' doesn't seem to be used in the English versions of the two Kaunas disabled websites listed above.

However, it's clear they see themselves as 'good causes', helping the disabled.  In the UK, such organisations would be classified as charities (or be part of the NHS or local council social services).

At November 2009, the leaflet pictured on the company's website includes the statement :

"we donate 50% of our commercial profit to children's charities..."

Also, the word 'donate' is used several times in the leaflet, eg :

See the Definitions page for why this implies it's a charitable collection.

So, these collections are 'charitable' as defined in the House to House Collections Act 1939.  So they need a collection licence from the licensing department of each local council where they collect.

Unlicensed charitable collections are illegal.  See the page on monitoring and enforcement for examples of recent prosecutions of unlicensed collections carried out by other collectors (eg by Cardiff Council in May 2009).

Usually, prosecutions rely on members of the public contacting their council licensing department within 24 hours of receiving a leaflet - so the council (and police) can intercept the collection on the day it takes place.

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) - adjudication

ASA

A collection leaflet produced by The Hand of Help Ltd was the subject of an adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority - dated 1 July 2009.

The complainant was another collector - Clothes Aid.  The ASA summarised their complaints as :

  1. [The] ad was misleading because it did not make clear that The Hand of Help supported organisations in Lithuania, rather than in the UK, and
  2. [Clothes Aid challenged whether the] Birth Care Association was genuine and that The Hand of Help [Ltd] raised funds for it.
     
    The CAP Code: 3.1; 7.1; 7.2

The ASA upheld (ie agreed with) the first of these two complaints.

See :

One sentence in the adjudication caught our eye :

"Response [of The Hand of Help Ltd] :

. . . They also maintained that they were supervised by their local Trading Standards Department and the Inland Revenue."

This part of their defence appears to imply that the company believed that trading standards approved of their collections.  Does the local trading standards department approve?  And did the ASA check on this?

The regulators - the different approaches of the ASA and local council licensing departments

The ASA adjudication above highlights the current problem of having several different regulators dealing with charitable clothing collections.  Each regulator has different remits and powers.  This makes it confusing for everyone - especially the public and the media.  See the top of the Regulators page for more on this.  Below, we compare two of the regulators :

ASA logo

The ASA - It allowed the company to continue collecting - so long as their leaflets were amended to make it clear that the donations were being made to Lithuanian charities.  This is because the ASA's powers only relate to misleading advertisements.

Local council licensing departments - They look at the collections in a different way to the ASA.  The departments view them in terms of the House to House Collections Act 1939.  This requires them to ask two questions :

  1. Are the collections 'charitable' ? - as defined by the 1939 Act - and (if so)
  2. Do they have a licence ?

The answer to question 1. is 'yes' - they are 'charitable' (see section above).

The answer to question 2. is probably 'no' - because it's said that few (if any) councils have licensed them.

If so, the council can prosecute the collector.  For more on this, see the section above ('Do they need collection licences?').

The Guardian - article on the collection company

Guardian logo (our thanks to the publishers)

There was a brief piece on the company's collections in the Guardian newspaper on 15 August 2009.  It's a letter to the editor, with a response by a trading standards officer from Surrey County Council :

PSS Support Ltd (another clothing collection company) and 'Disabled from Birth' charity

The two web pages below give details of collections carried out by another company (called PSS Support Ltd) in 2005.  They referred to 'Disabled from Birth'.
It appears this is the Kaunas 'Disabled from Birth' organisation referred to above :

Bracknell Forest Council (Berkshire) - March 2005 :

South Cambridgeshire District Council - 8 April 2005 :

 
Below: Leaflet from "The Hand of Help" / "Disabled from Birth Care Association"
Delivered in Brentwood area (Essex) on 1 February 2008 (courtesy of MiPo)

The Hand of Help Ltd / Disabled from Birth Care Association - clothing collection leaflet - Feb 2008


2. Hand of Help UK Ltd

Their website:  http://handofhelp.co.uk  

Company number: 06320334
Date of incorporation: 23 July 2007

"Hand of Help UK Ltd" is a clothing collection company, based in Leeds (West Yorkshire).  According to its website, it donates to several charities - all overseas (at £50 per tonne of collected clothes):

Until around 2009, the company supported:

There are photos of the company's plastic collection bags on the company's website.

NB  Do not confuse this company with "The Hand of Help Ltd" (THOH) - described in the section above.  The two companies are unconnected.

"Hand of Help UK Ltd" versus "The Hand of Help Ltd" - how to tell the two names apart :


3. Do not confuse with . . .

Beware - Google lists several (unrelated) organisations which incorporate the phrase 'Hand of Help'.  Examples: