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to be not very happy about 'Happy School Bag'/other bag collection schemes?

(29 Posts)
NobodyThatYouUsedToKnow Thu 27-Mar-14 16:33:02

My DCs are at a private school. The PTA work hard to raise money to gild the gates, retile the swimming pool and other such worthy causes.

So you get the 'bake lovely home-made cakes for us and we'll sell them for 20p each', summer ball + auction, and all that sort of stuff.

I think it's bollocks tbh, we pay five figures in fees per child and I don't know why they need to scrape together the odd £100 extra from these jobs. But I guess it keeps the PTA mums busy.

Anyway, latest thing is we've been given 'Happy Bags', and told them to fill them with unwanted possessions to raise money from the school.

We are told

"Items collected are:
- clean clothing
- paired shoes and trainers
- handbags, belts, hats, accessories
- jewellery, toiletries, perfumes
- console games, souvenirs
- bedlinen, towels, soft toys

Please note, items not accepted: bric-a-brac, mats, pillows, blankets, curtains."

What we aren't told is how the school will benefit.

I looked at their website (, and it says

"We ensure that we pay the highest market prices. At the moment we pay up to £0.60 per kilo. "

Frankly this makes me cringe. Parents mostly drive X5s, XC90s, etc. and live in big detached homes. I'm sure they have some lovely stuff. And the thought of all that outgrown Boden, designer handbags, etc., being weighed up at 60p/kilo, and then sold on by the company behind it, seems almost criminal.

(You get similar collection bags through the letterbox, and I don't like them either, but at least then there is no competitive pressure to come into school carrying in bulging sacks full of lovely goods to be sold off for pennies.)
AIBU to thing this scheme is a rip-off and the school shouldn't be involved with it?

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Thu 27-Mar-14 16:37:29

I fill ours (not for quite the sort of school you describe) only with bits that I can't pass on more usefully somewhere else to be honest, tends to be clothes and stuff Mummy wants to get rid of for that very reason! Ours takes bedding, though ...

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 27-Mar-14 16:40:55

DD is at independent school PTA buy the cream, playground equipment, laser cutter, new sprung dance floor to name a few things. They also give a significant portion to other charities several thousand a year. The PTA should publish it's accounts at least once per year (ours does it each term) so that you can see what they are spending the money on.
The bag to school is a big earner raising about 1.5K each time it is done for very little effort on the PTAs part.
Don't fill the bag if you don't like it. But do find out what they spend the money on.

Sovaysovay Thu 27-Mar-14 16:41:27

What would you rather they did with the clothing? Give it to you? Sell it on Ebay (time consuming for little reward)? Put it in a charity shop where it will be snapped up by the very same 'vintage boutiques' that cherrypick from Bag2School? No matter where they send the unwanted clothing it's going to end up being sold or recycled.

You sound oddly jealous or uncomfortable about the fact these are 'nice' clothes going to second-hand shops and textile recycling. Why does it matter? It was all made in the same Bangladeshi factory.

insanityscatching Thu 27-Mar-14 16:47:51

Dd's school use Bags2school I prefer it to the bake a cake stall etc. I just bag up old clothes that aren't good enough for the charity shop. There's no inspecting of goods in the bags at our school anyway, but then again I don't think anyone would be interested tbh.

ImAThrillseekerHoney Thu 27-Mar-14 16:49:13

I'd be pissed off too actually, because a disproportionate share of the profit is going to be going to the company running the scheme rather than the "good cause" which the donors wish to support - whether that's Save the Children or retiling the school swimming pool. It's just quite a wasteful way of doing it. But presumably the PTA don't want to spend their evenings ebaying the donations individually, which would raise a ton of cash but take huge amounts of time - unless you want to volunteer OP?

GreenShadow Thu 27-Mar-14 16:55:22

We also use Bag2School and, yes, I also send the rubbish stuff to them. It'll go for rags, but at least the school get some money.

starfishmummy Thu 27-Mar-14 16:56:18

Ds's school (state) send bags from time to time. If I have stuff that I can send then I do so rather than take them to a charity shop. I know they don't make a let kg money but I would rather the school got it than some random charity shop

NobodyThatYouUsedToKnow Thu 27-Mar-14 17:21:40

I'm happy for nice clothes to go to second-hand shops, I just think they should either (a) get a good price or (b) explain to people how the scheme works in terms of it being weighed.

littlebluedog12 Thu 27-Mar-14 17:27:57

Tbh I'd rather take my old clothes to the charity shop and donate a quid to the PTA. I'd rather know the money goes direct to a charity than to some dubious business making a profit.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 27-Mar-14 17:36:38

I'd be peed off actually, the idea of console games being sold per weight is bonkers for example, you'd get more at a pawn shop!

I think they should be open about how the scheme works before asking people to donate, at least people will know to put the stuff they really don't want in, not quality items.

CountessOfRule Thu 27-Mar-14 17:45:06

If everyone gave their rags that aren't good enough for a charity shop (eg stained, bobbled, faded) which would otherwise go to landfill or household recycling, there's nothing to complain about.

Our PTA (small primary) raises around £250 a year through these, for pretty much zero volunteer input, just a line in the newsletter the week before.

But yes, if it's still wearable then eBay and give the proceeds to your PTA direct.

hunreeeal Thu 27-Mar-14 18:06:08

For those who don't have time to eBay everything, you can hire a Trading Assistant to sell your items for you. I wonder if this would work out more profitable than selling clothes by the kilo.

Ours uses Bags4School, raises several hundred pounds a year for virtually no effort and everyone gets to clear out a lot of old crap if they want to. It is one of the few PTA things that no one ever moans about (apart from when we've inadvertently booked it during Walk to School week).

or Bags2School even.

moonbaby31 Fri 11-Jul-14 15:21:17

I used to be a member of the PTA and it is an easy way to raise funds for your school however i have done my research and discovered that Happy Bags is part of an umbrella company called UKCC and SOS clothing and there was an article about them on the Newspaper accusing them of cheating charities by lying about the amount of profit they give out.All three are linked

We switched to clothes Aid they are more professional and at lest someone speaks English there as for Happy Bags who ever I was talking sounded like she didn't know what she was doing and sent me eastern Europeans who look like they have been drinking and haven't had a wash in weeks to empty out ourTextile Banks.

I would say donate to Charity shop at lest they will be displayed nicely and someone else can make use of them 60p per kilo for nice good quality clothes is unjust.

Or just hold on to them smile

magpiegin Fri 11-Jul-14 15:25:26

It doesn't stop when your child leaves school either! My husband left his prep school nearly 20 years ago and the last letter he got was from them asking for donations for an AstroTurf pitch!

CheeryName Fri 11-Jul-14 15:38:48


Our schools does Bags2School and we all fill full of absolute rags, which works really well. Would be a total waste of naice clothes though as a charity would get a lot more ££ selling them in a shop than selling by weight to the rag man. And you can put curtains in if they are wrapped in a towel wink

SarcyMare Fri 11-Jul-14 15:41:15

our school bag system is called "rag bag" so you at least know what they want in it.

5Foot5 Fri 11-Jul-14 15:49:57

I think it's bollocks tbh, we pay five figures in fees per child and I don't know why they need to scrape together the odd �100 extra from these jobs.

^^This. I can understand state schools having various money raising schemes but I didn't know that this happened in the private sector. If they need more money why don't they just put up the fees?

Runesigil Fri 11-Jul-14 20:14:23

>>why don't they just put up the fees<<

The fees are for education, extra things are funded by the PTA/donations.
If things like an Astroturf pitch were included in the fees, parents of non-sporty kids would object.

6031769 Fri 11-Jul-14 20:57:35

these bags where they pay about 50 or 60p a kilo annoy me, i know alot of people don't actually realise and think the bags they are putting out are going to be sold in the charity shop. I brought one bag of items to a charity shop recently,(local hospice charity) and i gifted aided it so if you do this they send you an email to say what they've sold them for. A few weeks later i got an email to say what they'd sold so far had raised £38, it was only about 4 or 5 kilos.

phantomnamechanger Fri 11-Jul-14 21:09:21

I would rather give my 5kg of nice stuff to a charity shop to sell on and benefit both them and the eventual buyer, and give a £2.50 donation to the school, than give the school the stuff that will earn them that sum!

as it is, I make sure that I save up all the stained, torn, useless textiles (eg old undies, holey socks and cardboard tea towels and flannels) that are weighed & valued as the same as designer saleable stuff. It's ridiculous.

I actually saw a "cash for clothes" van collecting in a local store car park last week - surely if people were THAT desperate that they wanted 50p/kilo for their stuff, they would be selling it on ebay/facebook etc instead!

SandraR2014 Thu 17-Jul-14 15:47:31

Hi I'm seeing a few over exaggerated negative comments here which I don't agree with. Myself and other mums I know are very much in favour for the Happy School Bag scheme which helps my kids' sch

Chocoholicforever Thu 17-Jul-14 15:49:48

A lot of schools use them not just for the money but it also adds to their Eco school status which adds to their status and funding elsewhere. I only put in clothes I wouldn't pass on too

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