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Social Work/Local Community based project idea

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Question
Hi, whilst clearing out my daughters cupboards recently I had an idea for helping families in my local area. My idea was to start a sort of collection or 'bank' of used/unwanted school uniform items that are in good condition or in need of minor repair. Then, after doing any necessary repair work, offering the items (obviously free of charge) to families in the local community who may be struggling to afford certain items for their child throughout the school year, for eg. if a child outgrows or tears their school trousers and a parent cannot afford to replace them, rather than their child going without, they could check my 'bank' of school clothing, and have what they need free of charge if it is available.In order to make this possible, I plan to ask people in the local area to donate any un-needed uniform they may have.
I am wondering if I am legally allowed to do this as I am not a registered charity, or if there are any other legal reasons I would not be able to do it. I am based in the UK, I realise you are not UK based and therefore may not be able to help me with this query, if so, could you instead please offer me any guidance/advice that you may have (such as any possible obstacles or problems that i should take into consideration etc.) Thank you for your time.
Regards,
Victoria

Answer
Dear Victoria

Good to hear about your noble intentions to help the underprivileged. I have the following suggestions, conceptually and legally:

- You can carry out this activity as a voluntary service at individual/personal level without violating any legal provisions. However your credibility to invite donations of goods will remain limited to your friends. besides, you can not accept any cash donations to off set your operational costs like transportation, phone calls, etc. or to buy stuff to supplement your collections. You can collect stuff from your friends and distribute. No problem.

- You can link up with a neighborhood registered charity and donate your own as well as those collected from friends for distribution. You can also join as volunteer to that Charity. However, your personal views and identity will not have a place in the operation of that Charity and its operations.

- Register a Charity, invites others to join and carry out proper operation.

- You may contact the following for any assistance -
NCVO, National Council for Voluntary Organisations
Society Building
8 All Saints Street
London
N1 9RL
Telephone: 020 7713 6161
Fax: 020 7713 6300
Email: ncvo@ncvo-vol.org.uk


Hope that helps

Dr Garain
Professor of Social Work
India

Social Work

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