February 29, 2020

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The Big Help

Submitted by: University of Luton, UK

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Oct 21, 2003 – 12:00 AM EST


Oct. 21 /CSRwire/ - Luton, Bedfordshire, UK - Thousands of employees across Luton joined forces last month in an attempt to achieve a world record in recycling.

The entire workforces from six of the area's biggest employers - Whitbread, Vauxhall, IBC, Interbrew UK Ltd, the Luton & Dunstable Hospital and the University of Luton - helped to collect a mountain of re-useable items for local charity shops and community organisations, over a 5 day period.

The one-week initiative, called The Big Help, was the brainchild of Piers Blake and Jerry Marston from Whitbread‚s Community Investment team. Jerry said: "We wanted a simple and effective way to demonstrate what a difference Luton's big employers can make when we work together for the benefit of the community."

Thousands of bags were given away free to all staff from the six organisations, who were asked to fill them with their nearly-new re-usable household items (such as clothing and toiletries) for re-distribution throughout the area.

Some of the charities that will be benefiting from this huge initiative include Age Concern Luton, Life Housing and YMCA - Luton Children's Rights. Mary Palmer, from Business In The Community, said: "I think it's important to make sure that each charity has the items that it will benefit from. That way, the items that have been donated won't go to waste."

Business in the Community acted in an advisory capacity from day one of the Big Help project and through their contacts with local charities, the Big help was donated warehouse space, free of charge, for two weeks.

The Big Help group also worked with Robinsons, a local recycling company to ensure that there would be no land-fill whatsoever from this initiative. Everything donated will be put to use - even if it can't be re-used, it can be recycled.

Local radio station, 97.6 Chiltern FM did a live broadcast from the sorting warehouse Monday to Friday at 10:45am, for the "Skive" feature. Kerry and the Black Thunder came along each morning to get an update on the project and the amount of items donated.

The big surprise of the week came from a phone call from the manager of Boots, Miss Susan Davies. As Christmas draws nearer, Boots staff are due to have their new Christmas stock delivered and had many items left from last year that they offered to the Big Help as a donation. Around 2500 items, mainly toys and toiletries, will be distributed around Luton over the coming months.

One of the charities who will benefit are Keech Cottage. Keech Cottage cares for life-limited children and their families who live in Bedfordshire or Hertfordshire. Jan Gilfoyle, a carer at Keech Cottage explained how the toys would benefit the children and their families. "We are so grateful to the Big Help and to Boots for the toys. They will really help to stimulate and encourage development of the younger children. The bright colours, the noises and the way the toys touch will all help this development."

Over the week, the Big Help collected over 1500 bags, and will recycle over 35,000 items, from clothes and shoes, through to shelving units and toiletries. Thanks to support from Noah Enterprise and Robinsons, everything will be put to great use.

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