Greetings from Worthing Community Chest, and a happy new year to you. Sadly, we’re starting the new year with some worrying news.

As you know, most of the money we give out in grants comes from textile recycling. And most of that comes from our three recycling bins outside Tesco at Durrington. Those funds are now under threat. Just before Christmas, removal stickers appeared on these bins. The local Tesco managers denied all knowledge of it, but we eventually established that they had been placed on behalf of The Salvation Army.

They receive funds from the profits made by The Salvation Army Trading Company Limited (Satcol), a company based in Kettering and wholly owned by The Salvation Army. They now have a nationwide contract with Tesco to provide the textile recycling bins, so they are within their legal rights.

It is much harder, however, to justify the way in which all this has been done. They gave 14 days notice, just before Christmas. They gave no prior warning, meaning that other charities had no chance to seek alternative funding or make alternative plans. There has been no consultation, so they have no idea what other local good causes may be affected by their actions.

Worthing Community Chest can show how every penny it receives from the Worthing textile recycling bins is paid out in grants to good causes in Worthing. The new Salvation Army bins claim that they and Tesco are “working together in your community”, but it’s hard to find the evidence for this. I think we are entitled to ask what specific pieces of local Salvation Army work are being funded by the donation of textiles in Worthing?

Satcol’s own Code of Conduct states they will “show respect, honouring the admiration in which The Salvation Army is held.” But, in this instance, they have behaved in a way that suggests they have no concern for any cause other than their own. An organisation with a reputation for caring seems to have acted in a most uncaring way.

Volunteers in hundreds of small charities, clubs and groups across Worthing are surely entitled to ask why The Salvation Army hasn’t seen fit to consult with them or consider their needs in any way. We just want to share the space. We don’t want to remove The Salvation Army’s textile bins at Tesco; we just don’t want them to remove ours. Why can’t we share?

If you would like to register your concerns or suggest the sharing idea, please write to:

Divisional Commander: Mark Herbert

Worthing Officer: Marian Parker

Standard email is first

All the best,

Karl Allison, Chair