Working together to help the homeless
By DBLogic on 06/12/2017

Working together to help the homeless

In this, the season of goodwill, we’re delighted to tell you how, thanks to a chance conversation, MD Dave Barrett helped SCI Textiles to link up with homeless charity House of Bread Stafford for mutual benefit.
 
DBL has been working with SCI Environmental Group since 2011 and we currently provide its asbestos, textiles (dry cleaning) and impact (containers/removal) divisions with bespoke IT solutions designed to ensure a cost-effective and responsive service for their customers. As he gained greater insight into the SCI Textiles business Dave learned that, following an insurance payout to the customer, all garments, bedlinen and soft furnishings damaged by fire or flood and considered to be beyond economic repair end up in landfill.

Dave volunteers with House of Bread Stafford, an independent charity set up in 2010 to support people who are homeless by choice or because of a crisis, sofa surfers, those who are socially isolated and individuals with mental health problems.  

Surplus food sourced locally feeds around 120 people each week, while House of Bread also provides clothing, toiletries and basic household items at the point of need along with a range of advocacy services including health, housing and benefits. In September 2016, the charity opened its first drop-in café.

“Often, people who come to House of Bread could do with of a change of clothes or bedlinen but, for whatever reason, find it challenging to access mainstream shopping, so the charity set up a clothing bank to meet that need,” says Dave.

“The directors of SCI Textiles are mindful of the company’s carbon footprint and are willing to explore more environmentally friendly ways of garment disposal. It became clear that both organisations stood to benefit from working together and the person who was in a position to do something about it was me.”
 
The upshot of Dave’s conversation with SCI director Chris Dale is that, thanks to regular van deliveries from SCI Textiles, House of Bread now has a sustainable supply of quality clothing. Volunteers sort the garments and pass on whatever House of Bread cannot use to other charities. Some items are sent to rag agencies, which brings in useful extra income.  Around 95% of the clothes and bedding donated by SCI is put to good use by House of Bread. The charity recently replaced bedding at the Eagle House hostel in Stafford and at the Macari Centre in Stoke on Trent. Items have also been donated to the Cats’ Protection League and a home for retired greyhounds for use as animal bedding.

“When Dave mentioned his charity work and the clothing bank, it made perfect sense for us to team up with House of Bread,” says Chris. “We’re always happy to support local charities and I’m delighted that other worthy causes benefit from our arrangement, too.

“Since the amount we send to landfill has reduced significantly, we’re paying less in fees to use this facility. Our way of giving something back was to make House of Bread our chosen charity for 2017-2018.”
  
SCI will be engaging in a series of staff challenges to raise funds in support of House of Bread, which is hoping to set up a new telephone support line and recruit additional caseworkers. As ever, the charity is also focussed on covering the costs associated with the provision of its core services.

For House of Bread, making people comfortable is the first step to helping them to relax and feel safe, and access to a change of clothes has an important part to play. Director William Morris jumped at the chance to forge an association with SCI Textiles.

He said: “We receive fantastic support from SCI, which is especially valuable at this time of year because winter can be tough for the homeless, people who struggle with loneliness and those forced to choose between eating or heating their homes.

“Dave Barrett is already making a difference by volunteering with us, but it’s thanks to him that we’ve been able to link up with SCI Textiles and turn our clothing bank into such a tremendously successful initiative.”
 

Find out more about House of Bread Stafford and its 2018 projects.