We seem to get more and more plastic bags being delivered collecting on behalf of one charitable organisation or another. Are they all genuine? Well, that is hard for us as householders to tell. All collectors must hold a House to House Collections Act 1939 National Exemptions Order issued by the Home Office or a House to House Collection License issued by the local council, in our case, East Cambridgeshire District Council.

It turns out that the “NSPCC”, whose recent bag is being distributed and collected by Clothes Aid, is indeed one of the 44 organisations holding a National Exemption Order from the Home Office (PDF). In addition, and as a courtesy, Clothes Aid informed East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) that they will be collecting in the ECDC area between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015. On the other hand, it appears that “Helping Our Soldiers”, whose recent bag is being distributed by Maksim Ltd, does not hold a National Exemption order from the Home Office nor, according to an ECDC spokesperson, does “Helping Our Soldiers” hold a House to House Collection License to collect on Friday 18 July 2014 within the ECDC area (SVG).

If you suspect that such apparently charitable collections are not genuine, simply do not put anything in the bag. You can always give directly to your favourite charity’s high street shop, many of whom offer a personal collection service anyway.