Exciting new collaboration brings opportunity for growth

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24th November 2021

By Rosalind Bluestone

Earlier this month we visited children's charity Little Village to welcome them to Watford and find out how we could support them. There was so much synergy during our visit that a wonderful collaboration was borne.

 

Little Village works like a food bank, but for clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children up to the age of 5. So, we have welcomed them onto our charity partner network and will support them by delivering baby goods and hygiene products to the families they work with. In return, and as part of our partnership they allow us to use some of their warehouse space for our packing sessions.

 

WHAT THIS OPPORTUNITY MEANS FOR US
Our key challenge as a charity is warehousing and logistics - how do we store, sort, pack and deliver the items we receive form industry and our community? In 2020, having outgrown our facility in Borehamwood we moved our operation to Watford. The move marked a significant milestone for the charity. With more space, we were able to scale up the rate at which we collect unsold goods from industry and preloved items from the community. Previously, we had to restrict the volume of goods we were able to receive and limit the number of volunteers who could work safely within government guidelines for social distancing, at any one time. The new premises in Watford gave us more capacity to sort and categorise items as they come in and allowed us to quickly respond to community appeals, easily locating and despatching what they need. But after just one year, we have found ourselves experiencing the same issue with lack of space and all the challenges that brings with it.

 

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Due to the Pandemic and Brexit the past 18 months have been our most challenging but most rewarding yet. With thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund and funding from Comic Relief, we've increased our activities by over 50%. Responding to requests from over 60 UK charities who support the UK’s most vulnerable people – such as those that are homeless, isolated, single parent families, people with mental health conditions, refugees and asylum seekers. In last 12 months alone, we've delivered over £11 million worth of humanitarian aid, and supported over 1 million people receive essential, life-changing goods. So, it's no surprise that as our operation has grown so too has our need for more space.

 

The warehouse, which used to be the old Mothercare unit, is an fantastic space. And, just this week we were able to host our first packing session in the new space. It was so good to be able to welcome our volunteers to this amazing facility and once again be able to work at the scale the demand requires.

 

Little Village volunteers

 

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
What makes us unique is that we bring corporates and communities together, to help those in need. Taking goods where there is too much to places where there isn’t enough, helping reduce waste and alleviate poverty. We have exciting plans for the future and we're already discussing corporate volunteering opportunities. We currently work with a few organisations such as Cyber-Duck and PwC who volunteer with us but this opportunity will allow us to increase the number of organisations we work with in this way. Watch this space for more news about our plans to host joint packing days with our corporate partners at the facility.

 

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

Our corporate partners share our vision of helping vulnerable people in need and reducing waste and the negative impact it has on our shared planet. So, if you too share our vision and you'd like to discuss donating some of your overstocked products, profit or people to volunteer with us then I'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch by emailing me at rosalind@goodsforgood.org.uk