OFF with the old, on with the new – that’s the message from a Buckingham lingerie store.
Sweet Dreams, in Castle Street, is encouraging customers who are purchasing new underwear for the new year to recycle their old bras for charity.
Owner Karen Baines, who started the business with her mum Carol Tomes 24 years ago, was approached by fundraiser Jo Garside to install a ‘bra bank’ in the shop, with money raised going to Middle Claydon autism charity The Puzzle Centre.
Unwanted bras in wearable condition can be deposited in the bra bank. These are then collected by a recycling company, weighed sorted and packed up and sold on very cheaply to parts of the world, including Africa, where women’s underwear is in short supply
The Puzzle Centre will receive £1 for every kilogram collected, with an average black bin bagful netting the charity £6 to £10.
And customers have the satisfaction of knowing their cast-offs are going to a good cause.
Mrs Baines said the new year is a popular time for women to clear out their drawers and treat themselves to new underwear.
She said: “A lot of people are stocking up on new bras at the moment. It’s surprising how many customers find their size has changed so their bra is no use to them. People having fittings are going off with their new bra on and putting the old one in the bank.
“While we’ve got our half-price sale on, it’s an ideal time to come and stock up.”
She added a lot of women have old bras they will never wear again, including ones that don’t fit, nursing bras, ‘gardening bras’ and their daughters’ teenage bras.
Anyone can bring in a wearable used bra – wrapped in a plastic bag – to donate, and Mrs Baines said: “We’re not going to stand there and inspect them – they just put the bra in the bank. They mustn’t feel embarrassed!”
> If your organisation would like to have a bra bank for the Puzzle Centre, call Jo Garside on 01296 733756 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org