Binky Felstead: Reality star says she will repay charity’s fee for Instagram posts

Alexandra “Binky” Felstead was paid by Barnado’s to tweet about the charity

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The Independent Online

A reality TV star has agreed to repay a charity thousands of pounds after she suffered a public backlash for taking payment to promote their shops on her social media account.

Alexandra “Binky” Felstead, whose champagne lifestyle is depicted in Made In Chelsea, had agreed to use her Instagram account to front a campaign encouraging support for Barnardo’s in exchange for £3,000.

The charity denied initial reports that it had agreed to pay Ms Felstead £20,000 for her services after she posted a photo of herself holding a sign telling people to follow Barnardo’s shops. But it admitted that a deal had been done to pay her several thousand pounds.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “We took a business decision to acquire the support of Alexandra Felstead to bring the appeal to a new and wider audience... Barnardo’s does not usually pay celebrities who support our work with the most vulnerable children across the UK.” They added: “We decided to invest in a celebrity fee here to see whether it could boost our campaign and generate more funds to help more children.”

 

But some of the charity’s supporters threatened to withdraw their support, branding the deal “sick”. One backer, Harriet Doyle, tweeted: “@barnardos you will never receive a single penny again. If @BinkyFelstead doesn’t return this money and donate her time free.”

A spokesperson for Ms Felstead told The Independent: “We can confirm that Binky has agreed to waiver her £3,000 fee. Her decision to work with Barnardo’s was always for good intentions. She was offered this fee to front a campaign. However her intention has always been to give the entire fee back to charity in some way.”

The charity is now under pressure to review the way it works with celebrities more widely, however. Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke said: “Hardworking taxpayers who donate to worthwhile causes expect their money to go towards helping people in need, not celebrities. I hope Barnado’s will review their practices as a matter of urgency.”

Some of the UK’s biggest charities, including the RSPCA,  Oxfam and Save the Children, told The Independent they do not pay for the services of celebrities. The Barnado’s case is not unique, according to the Institute of Fundraising, but it said “Charities are always mindful to try and keep their costs down as much as possible”.

Famous names: Paid-for charity work

Some charities, such as World Vision, are open about the payments they make to their ‘artist ambassadors’. These include Downton Abbey actress Elizabeth McGovern. Her band, Sadie and the Hotheads, were given £28,000 to fund an album and UK tour in return for promoting the charity.

Cherie Blair was criticised after allegations in 2005 that she had been paid at least £100,000 to do a speaking tour in aid of the Children’s Cancer Institute, an Australian charity.

And in 2007 it emerged that Sir Terry Wogan had been paid more than £9,000 to front Children in Need. 

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