The following journey and project illustrate so clearly the power of People and the enormous potential in partnerships and the circular economy! When we talk and are determined, we can achieve great things – make good things happen.
Simple Life’s Winter Warmth Project 2022 grew from a chance conversation about my role as ESG Director, and our upcoming Simple Life Building for my Future course with the Outward Bound Trust. Mountain Sports, Edinburgh, responded enthusiastically to an idea, offered excess stock, which was gathering dust and insulating valuable space, to help those needing a coat! And all because I popped in for a thermal-mat and had a chat! As with most great partnerships, they start small and grow, evolve naturally. Ahead of the end of year we have been able to donate over £60k worth of warm coats, ski pants, hats, gloves, and boots to over 12 charities across the country, for distribution to those struggling with the cost of living, those homeless and those sleeping out.
Donations have gone to youth groups, schools, homeless charities, community groups, and individuals in need of extra warmth. I admit to having mixed feelings as though great to be able to help, I do feel we should simply not need to do this in a country as wealthy as ours! But that’s for another time. This was simply about running with an idea and opportunity – to reduce waste, act sustainably and with kindness, and make a real difference to others. The project began in Scotland with trips to St Paul’s Youth Forum, Provanmill; The Phoenix Community Centre, Dumbarton; and Carluke Men’s Shed; and then donations to the Clydesdale Foodbank who also support people by supplying warm winter clothing and South Lanarkshire Council’s winter clothing scheme, through a British Heart Foundation friend! Sharing the story with a dear friend, the generosity of Western Mercedes and Western Nissan shone through, and I was delighted to have the use of a van for three days to distribute to Barnton Primary School, Northwich, who in turn shared with partners Grange Primary School in Winsford.
A stop at the fabulously festive house of some of our residents at Hindley Green, Wigan will see warmth shared with the homeless and a local women’s shelter. Collection for our friends at Trafford Veterans; a drop into the team at Salford Loaves and Fishes; and leaving boxes of warmth with partners from Embassy Village and Salford Loaves and Fishes, in Manchester will mean children and adults alike who need support with the cold will receive it. A final collection from my friend at the BRE sees a full circle connection, as donations were shared with Simon on the Streets, a charity in Leeds supporting the homeless, and coincidentally a charity we met for the first time through our residents’ nomination for a donation as part of our 12 Days of Christmas campaign 2021! A true purpose-built ecosystem, threads a larger web spreading across the country, building and strengthening all the time. Many new friends later and stories shared, news is coming in of distribution and warmer bodies. I thank everyone involved for their part in this Christmas story – a story of giving. It has been a privilege to meet so many wonderful people, people who give and want to make a positive impact! Thank you all.
In all my work and engagements, I keep my short and very clear remit front and centre, “To make people’s lives better or a little bit easier by what we do”, the inspiration of my CEO and a joy to implement. As my parents always said “Ask! What’s the worst that can happen? They say no! Nothing lost and lots to gain!’ Or in the words of a new friend ‘Shy bairns get nowt!’ It is true to say the generosity and trust of initial strangers, now friends, at Craigdon Sports has been inspiring, and I extend a huge thanks to each and every one of this incredible team. They shared the vision and facilitated with this clothing. Life really is so simple – People and Partnerships benefit us all, and the Planet. Why do we have to make it so complicated? Again, a question for another time! For now, a sense of gratitude and heartfelt thanks.