Why We Do Not Accept Some Bedding Including Duvets And Pillows

In response to an enquiry from a member of the public on social media recently, we explained that we could not accept her donation of used duvets. In our response, we explained that with the masses of donations received over the recent weeks has given us a storage problem and of course, duvets become a problem in wet weather. Within our FAQ page we also explain that there is a hygiene issue, but it seems that local social media groups on Facebook seem to be ridiculing charities for not accepting such bedding. Please let us further explain.

Hygiene and safety is a huge consideration with large thick bedding items. Aspergillosis is the umbrella name for the conditions caused by the common mould aspergillosis fumigatusSleeping on duvets and pillows that get cold and damp and do not have the opportunity to dry out through the winter months, can be a breeding ground for these spores.

The mould gives off microscopic particles, spores, that are extremely light and float easily in the air. This is how the mould spreads, when the spores germinate, they develop into full-grown green and white fungus and if inhaled, can cause serious infection of the lungs. Leading to many problems.

Such items that are big or heavy, are difficult for rough sleepers to launder which compounds the issue of this mould. Therefore we have made the decision not to offer thick heavy bedding to our clients.

Aspergillosis is the name given to a wide variety of diseases caused by infection by fungi of the genus Aspergillus. The majority of cases occur in people with underlying illnesses such as tuberculosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but with otherwise healthy immune systems.
Here at the Newbury Soup Kitchen we are learning all the time. By example and with the recent appeal for head torches, you will read that we requested wind-up torches as batteries are hard to come by and rechargeable devices are impractical. Similar, we receive donations of mens shoes, but we need boots. People who rough sleep need waterproof boots that repel water. The same for coats and outer garments, these should be waterproof at this time of the year. We regularly update our Wish List and with practical items for sleeping rough. A tarpaulin or ground sheet to keep the rain and wind off for those sleeping in doorways is most welcome, together with waterproof coats and boots, thermal underwear, thermal gloves and hats and warm jumpers and scarves are more practical than duvets and pillows. Sleeping bags are used by rough sleepers who domicile themselves in tents, but these are washed and dried before distribution if previously used or purchased brand new. Duvets and pillows could be more of a hindrance than a help.

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The Newbury Soup Kitchen is division of the Haven (West Berkshire) homeless charity. Charity Number 1179298.
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