GOOD causes are losing out on hundreds of pounds a month following the closure of Bolton’s charity canopy, it has been claimed.

Animal charities say they have seen their takings drastically fall since they moved their table top sales from the canopy to a temporary stall at the outdoor market in Ashburner Street.

Pet Rehome volunteers say they have gone from making around £650 on a typical day at the canopy — to less than £100 in the new location.

And fundraisers at Tottington Pets in Need say takings have dropped from £600 at their monthly collections — to £45 when they used the market stall last month.

The charity’s trustees have now decided it is no longer financially viable to use the stall, which costs £22.50 to hire from Bolton Council.

The council said charities needed time to “get used to the new location” and for their regular shoppers to realise where they were based.

Earlier this year council bosses confirmed the charity canopy would be dismantled as part of the £1 million redevelopment of Newport Street in the town centre.

It will be taken down before Christmas — to make way for a temporary snow slide which will form part of a “winter wonderland” in Victoria Square.

The canopy will be placed in storage as council bosses look to transform the street into a modern, “European-style boulevard”.

Last month Pet Rehome volunteers made just £98 on a sunny day when they were able to spread goods outside the new stall on extra tables.

Chairman Kathy Walton said: “What the council has provided is basically a box with a roller shutter — there is barely room for a couple of staff, let alone customers.

“In today’s economy, when people are calling upon charity resources more than ever, our own council has decided to kick this prop from under them for no good cause.”

About 40 charities set up stalls at the canopy last year and it has been a popular spot from which to fundraise and sell bric-a-brac for three decades.

The canopy was put up in 1984 and was funded by Marks and Spencer to mark its centenary year.

Dorothy Maden, chairman of Tottington Pets in Need, said she and her committee were “asking for answers” from the council.

She added: “Pets in Need booked the new venue last month and were put in what I can only describe as a large box, with hardly any footfall at all.

“Meanwhile, the charity canopy was standing empty and not being used.

“We regularly made between £500 and £700 under the canopy, which helps to feed all the animals at the sanctuary and help people with any veterinary bills owners cannot afford to pay.”

A council spokesman said charities were consulted in March and the majority had said an external market unit was the best alternative to the canopy.

The spokesman added: “We understand that it may take some time for charities to get used to the new location and for their regular shoppers to realise where they are now based.

“During consultation, the majority of the charities chose one of the new external units installed as part of the recent £4.5 million refurbishment of Bolton Market.

“We will continue to review how the new arrangements are working.

“We invited all the respondents to attend an individual meeting to view the options in person, to discuss any concerns and to gain an understanding of how each would operate in practice.”

No charities have been able to use the canopy since September.

Volunteers from Pet Rehome and Tottington Pets in Need said it was not until they saw the stall that they realised how unsuitable it was compared to the canopy, due to its smaller size and less central location.