A lifesaving Hampshire charity is rolling out a collection service to Test Valley to help collect donations while remaining safe in the pandemic.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) is launching a contactless, clothes and textile home collection service across Hampshire, with Test Valley’s service due to begin in the coming weeks alongside the Isle of Wight. A service for Southampton City Council and Eastleigh Borough Council has just launched.

The charity’s director of fundraising, Rachel Leaman, said that the clothing would provide “a golden opportunity” to keep the charity’s fleet going.

Each year, an estimated 350,000 tonnes of used but still wearable clothing in the UK is sent to landfill. It is worth approximately £140 million, and takes on average 200 years to biodegrade.

As a result, the charity is hoping to put these clothes to good use, with each tonne of textiles, including clothes, shoes and hats, bags, belts and bras, that is donated guaranteeing at least £210 for HIOWAA.

As well as a home collection service, a selection of clothing banks in support of HIOWAA will be placed across the region later in the year. These banks are seen as a long-term sustainable revenue stream, which will help ensure the Air Ambulance can carry on saving lives for many years to come.

Rachel said: “Wardrobe clear-outs throughout the lockdowns have provided us with a golden opportunity to get real value from people’s previously-loved clothing. Each item of clothing will go towards helping us be there for the most critically ill and injured people in our region. So, the next time you’re clearing a space in your wardrobe, drop any of your unwanted clothes into a bag and help to save a life.”

To book your collection slot, please send your full address and the number of bags to be collected to hiowaa@recyclingsolutions.org.uk or for more information, visit: www.hiowaa.org/recycle.