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Removal company helps expats give unwanted goods to charity

17th June 2011

An international household goods removal company has teamed up with the British Red Cross to help people moving to new countries donate their unwanted possessions.


By Leah Hyslop

London-based Oceanair International started to look for a charitable partner last year after being “overwhelmed” by clients who wanted the company to help them get rid of goods they no longer wanted.

The company, which specialises in international corporate relocations, had initially given such items to a dump, but director James Hooper eventually organised a partnership with the British Red Cross, whose shops are responsible for around 11 per cent of its overall fundraising revenue.

The charity has now received over 10 lorry-loads of household appliances, furniture and clothes from all over the world. Expats simply hand over the unwanted items to the packing staff on the day of their move, and they are taken away without charge to be sold in seven of the British Red Cross’s London shops. So far, around £4,000 has been raised from the initiative in its first nine months.

“People who are moving to a new location often want to lighten the load,” said Mr Hooper. “The partnership is good for the charity, which received a lot less donations during the economic crisis, and it also adds a bit of extra value for our customers. We hope to continue it for many more years."

Mr Hooper said that the most common items expats tended to donate were clothes, toys and small electrical appliances which would not work in their new country. Oceanair International has, however, received some rather more unusual donations – including three pianos.

Mark Astarita, director of fundraising at the British Red Cross, said: “We are very grateful to Oceanair International who have helped us to raise £4,000 so far by kindly collecting people’s unwanted items before they move abroad. Luckily for us most people want to get rid of clothes, toys and electrical items when they move – all of which we can sell in our shops and raise money for vulnerable people in crisis in the UK and overseas.”

Source:  Telegraph 17/6/11