We have been running a hugely successful clothes recycling scheme since 2009, in partnership with fire and rescue services and textile recycling companies across the UK, and we’re now delighted to confirm we passed £5million in funds raised earlier this year.

And it’s all thanks to your generous donations – so a huge thank you to all of you who have supported the scheme so far.

Our recycling partners manage the initiative right across the UK, with banks on fire stations and other community sites, as well as collections taking place at schools.

Kevin Biles, The Fire Fighters Charity’s Sales Manager, says: “Our clothes recycling scheme has been hugely successful since we launched it and this is purely down to fantastic teamwork along the way.

“On behalf of the whole Charity, I want to thank all of our clothes recycling partners, our fire and rescue services across the UK, our charity teammates and volunteers, and every single person who has donated their clothing in one of our clothing banks. Here’s to the next £5million, thank you everyone!”

The recycling scheme was first started with the help of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, before spreading round the UK from there.

Shaun Hallam, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, says: “I am delighted that the partnership with The Fire Fighters Charity and recycling companies has made such a meaningful difference financially and environmentally, and I am proud that we have been able to celebrate passing the £5 million milestone, generated purely through people’s unwanted clothing.

“This nationwide initiative not only enables the Fire Fighters Charity to support thousands of fire and rescue service personnel with their health and wellbeing, when they need it most, but also diverts a huge amount of unwanted clothing away from landfill.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to the local communities in supporting their local fire station through their clothing donations, it is making a huge difference and I encourage everyone to continue to support the charity and donate clothing to any of the yellow clothing banks outside fire stations around the country.”

We spoke to each of our recycling partners to hear their thoughts, which you can read below.

To support our recycling scheme in the future, head to www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/recycle to find your nearest recycling bank. And you can join our Recycling Group on MyFFC now by registering and visiting the ‘Groups’ tab.

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Paul Robinson of D. Robinson & Co. says:

“When we first started the recycling scheme, it took a while to kick in and we never thought it would become the success that it has.

“It’s my baby now, I love it and I’m really passionate about it. The cause is so important… You know where the money raised is going with The Fire Fighters Charity, and it’s being looked after. The money is going directly to the people it’s meant for. It’s just a brilliant charity, I love it.

“It’s not about business now for me, it’s personal. You become friends with the firefighters on station. A lot of people have been helped by The Fire Fighters Charity, whether at the centres or remotely, and we’ve helped along the way. It’s gone past work – it’s really personal now for me.”

Helen May of Beaumonts Recycling says:

“Becoming a recycling partner was a massive investment for our company because we’re just a small family business. We basically threw ourselves into it straight away. West Yorkshire has the most number of fire stations for a county in England, so it was huge.

“It’s been brilliant taking part, we’ve got to know loads of the firefighters really well and we’ve got involved with a lot of the events over the years. I think it’s a huge morale booster for all our staff too, knowing they’re doing their bit to help.”

Owen Ritchie of Clyde Recycling says:

“It’s over 10 years ago that we started the partnership with The Fire Fighters Charity. We got approached to service the whole of Scotland and it just really grew from there.

“We collected a record 40 tonnes this January which is massive – I remember when it first started we were only hitting 5s and 6s, so we’ve basically doubled every year.

“It’s been a great partnership. The added bonus is that we can help firefighters and personnel in need. That’s a massive bonus for us.”

Harvey Croney of ASTCO says:

“We were at the infancy of it all, and since then it’s been absolutely amazing the work everyone at the Charity have done with it, it’s really amazing.

“On our side, it’s directly helping a good cause with the firefighters’ rehabilitation services, and we really feel like we’re doing something worthwhile, then on your side it’s raising these valuable funds. It’s a win win.”

Simon Roberts of Roberts Recycling says:

“We took over the North Wales area in 2015, which at that point only included banks on about six or seven fire stations.

“We did our first month of collections in November 2015 and the total weight collected for that month was 840 kilos. Then in January 2022, seven years later, we collected a total weight of 82,859 kilos! The revenue went from £221.76 in that first month to just short of £20,000 in a month now.

“This is such a well-loved Charity and we constantly show our staff how the proceeds are helping firefighters that have been injured or who are struggling – they like to see where the money’s going. It really does inspire them.”

Mark Gillard of Elm Tree Textiles says:

“The recycling scheme been a tremendous success, there’s no doubt about it. Everybody throughout the country, from the partners to the fire service staff, have put a huge amount of work in to make this the success it has been.

“I feel that we mustn’t forget the people that are making the donations. The general public have not forgotten how hard firefighters work. I think that’s quite key because without them we go nowhere. I’m humbled by the generosity of the public.”

Ross Barry of LMB says:

“The great thing about supporting this Charity is that you’ve got the recycling bins in really good locations that are very visible to the public, but you’ve also got the fire service staff monitoring the bins to let us know as soon they’re full up. You’ve got such a community aspect to it.

“It’s really good for our staff to see where the funds are going and who it’s helping here in the UK.”

Vanessa Ratcliffe of VPR Clothing says:

“We’re very proud of what we do and to have been working with The Fire Fighters Charity for many years – particularly knowing how much it helps its beneficiaries.

“A lot of people don’t know much about the recycling industry and what we actually do, so when we start to explain to people that the clothing goes into the banks and that’s generating funds to help the Charity, people are amazed. They’re not aware of what we can achieve.

“It just seems to be increasing and increasing every year, raising more and more funds to help people.”

If you’ve recycled for us, or would be interested in doing so, join our Recycling Group in MyFFC to chat to like-minded others.

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