Supporting our customers, The Salvation Army and NHS

We want to express our sincere thanks to our customers, donors, colleagues and supporters who have been understanding throughout this period. We have received many supportive messages regarding the temporary closure of our charity shops and clothing banks, including members of the public who are saving their donations for when we reopen – again thank you!

Our recent priorities have been to keep in regular contact with our colleagues and customers; and also to review and adjust our business and operational plans for the short, medium and long term. Like all businesses, our plans have changed and will evolve over the coming weeks and months in line with Government guidance. We will never lose sight of our guiding principles of ‘helping others’ and this continues to be at the forefront of all our actions.  We are a strong, trusted and resilient company, and we are well-placed to continue to support our customers in the future as we look forward to fully reopening.

Despite the temporary closure of the main part of our businesses, we have been able to offer our support to The Salvation Army Divisional Food Hubs and a recently launched project to provide PPE to the NHS.  We also activated an emergency response team to support customers experiencing major issues with fly-tipping.

Emergency fly-tipping clearance

We have been working closely with our large customers and monitoring reports of fly tipping at the recycling sites we manage. While many of our customers have managed to cordon off recycling sites and eliminate fly-tipping, it continues to be an issue at some sites. As of Monday 27th April, we mobilised an emergency response team to support with the clearance of waste at the worst-affected sites. As always, the safety of our teams is the most important and we are following the latest Government and health advice regarding social distancing and PPE. You can read the full press statement here: https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/fly-tippers-costing-salvation-army-thousands-pounds

Pictured above: An example of one of the sites the emergency team have cleared up in the first week.

The set-up of the emergency response team followed a nationwide campaign we launched in April, encouraging people to hold on to their donations. You can read the press release on The Salvation Army’s website: https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/stop-charity-shop-profits-heading-landfill-warns-salvation-army

Vital deliveries to the NHS and Salvation Army community projects

Throughout lockdown, we have been considering ways in which SATCoL can give practical support to The Salvation Army and other volunteer projects. Nick Morton is our Liaison Officer and has been co-ordinating that support with Chris Bentley, Fleet Team Leader. To date, 4 of our CCD and donation centre vans are being used by Salvation Army churches, at no cost, to deliver food to The Salvation Army’s Divisional Food Hubs in Torquay, Devon and Cornwall, Bristol and the East Midlands area. Strawberry Field, the educational and employment centre for young people, has taken a 5th van, and we are responding to more requests from other Salvation Army churches and community projects.

Two of our drivers Dale Foster and Robert Scorobohaci, have begun volunteering to help deliver 50,000 face shields to NHS hospitals across the UK, as part of the ShieldNHS initiative. The recently established not-for-profit project was set up in conjunction with entrepreneurs from the University of Cambridge and is being helped by the London Fire Brigade. Dale and Robert have already collected face shields assembled by London Fire Brigade crews and delivered to 20 locations including London, Cardiff, Reading, Bristol, Oxford, Peterborough, Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, Wakefield, Birmingham, Leeds and Bradford.

The support we offer continues and you can read more updates on The Salvation Army’s News Centre: https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/salvation-army-joins-fight-deliver-ppe-frontline-nhs-staff

Pictured above: Dale Foster collecting face shields from Lambeth Fire Station who are supporting the ShieldNHS volunteer project.

In addition to this fantastic work, we are responding to many other opportunities to help where we can. Kirk Bradley has been the link between corporate partners including Debenhams, Tesco and Asda, and some of The Salvation Army’s outreach projects. Debenhams donated a large stock of food from their restaurants to The Salvation Army’s Divisional Food Hubs. The Salvation Army needed a way to safely package food donations and Tesco immediately responded to the call and donated 20,000 carrier bags. Asda has been generous too by offering to donate food to The Salvation Army’s food bank schemes.

Pictured above: Part of the delivery from Debenhams to The Salvation Army Divisional Food Hubs.