London based charity Winter Streets Project will be providing more survival packs for people living on the streets thanks to a fundraising drive through group collecting platform Collection Pot by third party enterprise support organisation Rimini Street Limited.
Winter Streets Project was set up in 2016 to help London’s homeless population, quickly expanding its survival pack distribution to Watford, Brighton and Hove, Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Southampton, Winchester, Oxford, Salisbury, Bournemouth, Bath and Bristol.
In 2019, Winter Streets Project distributed 850 survival packs to towns and cities around the UK but faced an uncertain future in 2020 after the pandemic curtailed its planned fundraising activities. Survival packs contain essential items like toiletries, food, thermal clothing, a foil blanket and stationery.
Founder and Director of Winter Streets Project Lou Ballard said the fundraising has enabled the charity to continue with its work:
“Because of the pandemic, all of the fundraising we had planned, and items that companies were going to donate got taken away. So, from having enough for 850 kits in winter 2019 and planning to distribute 1000 kits in 2020, we only had enough for 200 kits and were only able to cover Portsmouth, Bristol and London. I had this horrible conversation with my trustees about whether we should close Winter Streets Project down.
“It was devastating because the demand for our services has increased due to the pandemic. The regular soup kitchens we work with were emailing us and asking when we were coming. They couldn’t keep up with demand. It was awful to have to reply and say we haven’t got the kits you need.”
The Collection Pot fundraiser was set up by Rimini Street Limited on behalf of Winter Streets Project, with a total of £3062.03 raised for the charity and £236.55 in gift aid. Whilst initially set up as a way for companies to collect money for office based occasions and events, charities are increasingly using Collection Pot to fundraise as there are no monthly fees to appear on the site, and no gift aid processing fees.
Faye Newman, Senior Office Manager at Rimini Street first came across Collection Pot when collecting for a leaving gift in the office:
“Rimini Street has employees across the UK, Europe, the US and the Middle East. We normally collect for leaving gifts in person but when that wasn’t possible due to the pandemic, I searched for a digital way to collect and found Collection Pot. It was so easy that it was my first choice when we wanted to fundraise at Christmas.
“The idea began when someone uploaded a picture of their Christmas tree and it turned into a big fundraiser with people donating for uploading pictures of their tree. I wanted the money to go to a small, non-profit, and came across Winter Streets Project on the Collection Pot site which has a big list of charities. Rimini Foundation, part of our company, then agreed to match-fund the amount we’d raised.”
Lou Ballard from Winter Streets Project said she was absolutely thrilled to discover over £3000 had been raised by Rimini Street on their behalf:
“The money will pay for 1000 thermal socks and gloves, 1000 first aid kits and 500 kit bags. Each kit bag is waterproof and made from recycled bin bags to make it more sustainable.
“We’re a 100% non-profit charity and all money raised goes back into the charity. I set up Winter Streets Project in 2016, using the money I’d have spent on family Christmas present on kits for people living on the streets, with toothpaste, toothbrush, a hat, a pair of gloves and chocolate and it was built from there. In 2018, we registered as a charity. In regular life, I work in theatre and myself and all of the trustees work for Winter Streets Project voluntarily.
“Now, with this fantastic fundraising amount, we can keep on going, start to make our kits for 2021 and keep on going for 2022, reaching new cities too, like Liverpool and Manchester and helping even more people affected by homelessness.”
Collection Pot announced a new Charity Partner of the Month initiative in January 2021, which will see the group collecting platform choose one charity each month to benefit from funding. Wendy Carter, founder of Collection Pot said they are keen to progress and develop their work with charities.
“We read the story behind each and every Pot that is set up, and hearing about initiatives like Winter Streets Project reinforces how valuable the work is that charities up and down the country are doing, especially during the pandemic. It’s our aim to keep on working with charities, understanding what they need and how we can better work with and support them to meet their vital aims.”
Winter Streets Project is fundraising through Collection Pot to raise money to complete their 2021 kits for the homeless, and reach more towns and cities where people are in need.