Tough time for charity to ask

TIMES is tough. We're all spent up, having donated our final coppers to Comic Relief last month - and now the Benjamin Foundation want us to help them raise �15,000.

TIMES is tough. We're all spent up, having donated our final coppers to Comic Relief last month - and now the Benjamin Foundation want us to help them raise �15,000.

The cash will convert a derelict barn behind North Walsham's Carpenter's Arms drop-in centre into much-needed extra leisure space for young people.

But there's a very clever twist in this credit-crunch era appeal: they don't want money.

Instead, they're asking for our unwanted clothes, shoes, bags and bedding which the charity can pass on to a dealer in return for a big fat cheque. I think it's what they call a win, win - and several more wins - situation.

It will:

* give us all a chance to help and feel good about ourselves, even though we're skint

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* recycle old textiles

* clear out the attic and make space in the wardrobe

* provide a much-needed facility

* deter your own kids from causing trouble in the town centre

* deter other people's kids from annoying you in the town centre.

The Carpenters Arms is used by 11-to-25-year-olds from all over north Norfolk - many regulars are students at Paston College.

This is an appeal we can all get behind with relish and make happen, so weed out those winter woollies - old is fine, holed and ragged isn't - and get sorting. Bags of stuff can be left at the Carpenters Arms, preferably on Thursdays.