A DARLINGTON charity shop has issued a plea for customers to donate unwanted party dresses to help them meet demand for thrifty outfits this festive season.

The Mind shop, in Bondgate, Darlington, is looking for as many donations as possible.

The festive period brings an inevitable string of party invitations and with them the annual stresses of sourcing a new outfit – at a time when money is particularly tight.

Research reveals Christmas spending on clothing and footwear is already down 5.1 per cent from this time last year.

The Mind shop traditionally thrives at Christmas, as savvy shoppers hunt a fabulous new party frock, without breaking the bank.

But the shop is struggling to meet demand this December and urgently needs the community to donate no longer worn items.

Manager Jackie Ainslie said: “Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate – be it the office party, Christmas day with family or New Year’s Eve with friends.

“Every year, we welcome shoppers keen to find a reasonably-priced party frock to add festive sparkle, that doesn’t cost the earth, to these occasions. This year is no exception."

The Darlington Mind shop relies on local generosity for more than 95 per cent of product donations and welcomes toys, books and accessories, as well as clothing, so urges anyone having a pre-Christmas clear out to drop off their unwanted items in store.