St Barnabas celebrate innovation award win

St Barnabas Hospice is celebrating after winning the ‘Most Creative Use of Lockdown’ award at this year’s Charity Retail Association Conference.

Clinching the prize on Thursday 9th September at the conference’s award ceremony at Colwick Hall in Nottingham, the team’s ‘Drive-Thru Donation’ events, which allowed more than 60 tons of donations to be made throughout the national lockdown meant shops could reopen with enough stock.

Head of Retail at the Hospice, Caroline Peach, said: “We are delighted that our work during the pandemic has been recognised. We want to thank all of our staff, volunteers and customers for their help and support over the last 18 months. We felt that the donation drive-thru was a great success already, but to be recognised nationally is just amazing.”

Caroline added: “As soon as our charity shops were forced to close in the pandemic, the retail team realised we needed a plan of action for stocking our 26 charity shops for reopening. We also knew we would experience a surge of donations from people who spent time in lockdown sorting their homes out.”

As a result of quick thinking, the car park at St Barnabas Hospice’s Central Warehouse, which has a separate entrance and exit, meant the team could convert this into Lincolnshire’s first ever Donation Drive-Thru.

A booking system was set up to manage bookings and collect supporter data. This meant that the team were able to control how many people turned up during each half-hour window to ensure social distancing and a COVID-secure way of processing drop-offs. That time wasn’t wasted sorting out other processes such as Gift Aid as the relevant information had already been previously filled in online.

Caroline continues: “The first month saw around 15,000 bags and boxes of items donated, equating to almost 60 tonnes in weight. In total, item donations were around ten times the amount that we would have seen in a normal July.

“We also welcomed 45 new volunteers to help sort the items, as well as 61 volunteers to help in the charity shops once they reopened.

“From the first four weeks of bookings, 505 of the 640 donors claimed Gift Aid on the items they donated. This is an incredible 79% of those booked in. Normally, we would only see around 25% of people Gift Aid their donation. We’re so pleased to be able to continue raising funds for those who need our services.”

Those still wishing to donate can still use the donation drive-thru or drop items at the hospice’s charity shops.

Details can be found at https://stbarnabashospice.co.uk/donateitems/