Not, I’m afraid, a great year for the collection boxes.
The triple whammy of restrictions, fear of mingling and, above all, the seemingly unrelenting advance of touch & pay has vastly curtailed the use of cash, and with it, spare cash into our boxes.The year produced £1,038, with some previously lucrative outlets remaining empty throughout the year. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that, with light at the end of the tunnel, things may, to some extent, swing back to the days when we achieved a 4-figure income.
Come what may, the boxes will remain in full circulation and I would ask anyone with spare change to bear us in mind.
I continue to be amazed with the generosity of our supporters, particularly as the use of small change has been actively discouraged in many retail outlets. “Card Only” signs became the norm and, on the rare occasion when change was used, it had often been immersed in a bowl of pungent disinfectant,
soon finding its way into the boxes. Smelly or not, money is money and the £1,526 raised was a great achievement.
Going forward, we’re all going to be using less cash (many people haven’t touched copper coins for almost a year), posing concerns for the collection boxes: we’ll have to take that hurdle when it comes, but, in the meantime, we remain immensely grateful to the retailers and contributors who continue to make the scheme viable.
The High Street retail sector continues to face extremely challenging conditions and I’m amazed how, amongst all
their existing problems, so many local shops and outlets still allow us to keep collection boxes on their premises.
They clutter up the counters and are an ever-present target for theft by reptilian bandits.
Nonetheless, our retailers continue to oblige us and it is a really useful source of regular income. This year, we raised £1841 and, as ever, we remain eternally grateful to both them and, of course, those who kindly donate their change.
Many thanks to Percy and his team, for their enormous support throughout the year. Well done and our grateful thanks to everyone who kindly houses our boxes and helps raise vital funds.
The boxes continue to provide a useful income to the Charity and, this year, we’ve noticed how some organisations have generously held them for one- off events and produced a good sum. For example; Wellesbourne W.I. raised over £97 and Strutt & Parker, Moreton-in-Marsh charged for clerical and photcopying costs which raised £85.
Far from being a concern, the problem of old pound coins has actually worked in our favour – many people don’t have the time to exchange them at a Bank, they end up in the collection boxes and are most welcome. I’d therefore ask everybody to keep putting them in as and when they discover any down the back of chairs or glove compartments. It doesn’t matter how battered and tarnished they may be: a pound is a pound!
As always, I’m grateful to those who’ve assisted me over the last year – Jo Sweby, Fudge Ramsay and Ian McConnel – and, of course, the numerous retail outlets who continue to hold the boxes on our behalf.
There are some 75 boxes currently in circulation, so mentioning every outlet by name is not practical, nonetheless the total for the year was some £1,400 – a great effort.
It’s also worth noting that, other than the cost of replacing ring seals (approx. £10 p.a.), every penny from the boxes goes directly to the Charity.
The community gives generously through our collection boxes
Every year, our dear leader, Rebecca, summons a report on the collection boxes and, with every year, the subject becomes increasingly exhausted: what else can one write about a plastic box of coins?
2017 heralded the removal from circulation of all the old £1 coins and there was a moment of panic when no-one seemed to know if the banks would still exchange them after October 31st. It was also highly likely that these coins, lurking in sofas, trousers and car footwells, would probably end up in charity boxes after this date, and this has certainly proved to be the case. Fortunately, the banks will still accept them but, unfortunately, there are few banks left and those that remain have adopted a peculiar policy of only taking £20 at a time. Thankfully, we have a number of excellent local retailers who’ll exchange coins and we increasingly rely on them as an informal banking service.
This works well, or, at least did so until the local “market” became flooded with coinage when my brother had the same idea with £4,000’s worth from the November Poppy Appeal!
On a positive note, the boxes continue to provide a useful and constant income stream and, as always, I’m eternally grateful to my helpers, Louise Sewell, Fudge Ramsay, Ian McConnel and Jo Sweby for checking and emptying these. Above all, it’s the outlets and retailers who deserve greatest thanks: without them, none of it would be possible.
The grand total raised for the year is £2174.
Trying to present an eye-catching piece on Charity collection boxes is like writing an essay on what a pea tastes of. Difficult. Equally awkward is what people think of trying to say when I’m introduced as “He who looks after the collection boxes”. There’s really not many scintillating facts which can be raised on the subject.
“Trickiest incident?”…..Dealing with a box full of coppers and ancient beer slops – the chemical reaction converts it into varnish, requiring a hammer to sort out.
“Most tedious aspect?”…..Opening a box filled to capacity with coppers only and immediately knowing the result – £14.50. It’s always this amount. Worse still, knowing that one will be sorting some of the exact same pennies a year hence.
“Worst incident?”……Leaving my un- handbraked car to roll into a wooden bench at The Howard Arms. Cost of bench:- £300. Amount in collection box:- £3.30.
“Most laughable occasion?”…..Being given a bread basket full of unwanted coppers collected over two years by The Royal Oak, Whatcote: the over-loaded basket split open in the very dark car park. Mayhem!
Irritating that these seem, I am ever mindful of the real chore it can be for all the kind retailers who hold boxes for us all year round: they take up valuable counter space, have to be guarded, are awkward to clean around and are sometimes just in the way. Yet our shop-keepers, publicans and others never complain. They are the ones, without whom, the continued success of the boxes would end. Compared with their inconvenience, the occasional mishaps that visit the collectors – Fudge Ramsay, Jo Sweby, Ian McConnel and myself pale into insignificance.
A huge thank you to Percy and his team, for their time and enormous support throughout the year, dealing with counting the cash and raising the most amazing total of £1,915 from all the Collection Boxes in our local businesses. Well done and many thanks to everyone who kindly houses our boxes and helps raise funds..
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