The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is encouraging schools to bag up clothes for charity.
The life-saving service can supply recycling bags for children and staff to take home, fill up and bring back to the school for the charity to collect.
Judith Woodcock, from GNAAS Trading Company, said: “Not only does this help GNAAS but we will pay the school for the clothing, providing they achieve 300kgs or more, which raises funds for them too.”
The bags can be packed with clothing, footwear and household textiles such as curtains, towels and bed linen.
Once the clothing has been collected it is brought back to one of the GNAAS Trading Company’s depots, at Newton Aycliffe near Darlington or at Penrith and sold on to a Polish buyer.
Mrs Woodcock said: “Used clothing from our region is a sought after resource in Eastern Europe. Those donating the goods can do so in the knowledge that their clothing is not being shredded but finding a new lease of life. This has obvious rewards from an environmental perspective.
“Because of the quality our buyers have come to expect, GNAAS can negotiate a good price for its clothing, meaning the charity is getting the very most out of every donation.”
The GNAAS Trading Company is the charity’s biggest single donor and helps to keep the service airborne.
Mrs Woodcock said: “Support from schools is vital so it’s great when they get involved and collect a mass of clothing bags, which of course is economical for us too, because we only make one trip.
“Organisations such as scout groups, girl guides, cricket clubs and swimming clubs are all encouraged to get involved.
“A member of the GNAAS team can give a free talk to the school about the charity, so that pupils understand where the clothes donated and money raised will be going. Posters and parent’s letters can be supplied and the school will also receive a certificate of achievement highlighting their efforts.”