Rosalind Bluestone, Founder of UK registered charity, Goods for Good, has recently announced her involvement with a new initiative that also involves Nursery Online – Prams for Good. Here she talks to us about what motivated her to start Goods for Good, how and who it helps – and what her ambitions are for the future.
We believe that everyone has a right to dignity and hope. We work to alleviate poverty and reduce waste by delivering essential, life-changing goods to those in urgent need in the UK and internationally.
Goods for Good sources overstocked essential items, which may otherwise be destined for landfill, delivering them to people in urgent need, wherever they may be. We use a low-cost model whereby goods are donated and then distributed through our network of charity partners. Pre-loved, secondhand and some new items are collected by the local community and taken into our facility in Borehamwood where they’re sorted and packed by local volunteers on a regular basis before being distributed locally to UK asylum seekers and refugees.
We live in a world where resources are not equally distributed. Some people live in affluent communities where unwanted and overstocked goods end up in landfill, while others live in poverty where there is not enough to go around. Watching the news and seeing so many people in the world living in abject poverty without the basics to live, I knew I had to do something to address the imbalance, so I started the charity from my dining room table.
In 2013, at the age of 59, I was made redundant from a London-based international charity and felt that my expertise of exporting humanitarian aid, and connections with UK corporates, could be put to good use.
Six years on and Goods for Good has supported over 2.8million people globally. From the Middle East and Eastern Europe to the Philippines and Africa, we have delivered essential goods to 24 countries across 4 continents. Delivering and repurposing over £22m-worth of humanitarian aid from overstocked goods that might otherwise have been sent to landfill in the UK.
We support those that are homeless, isolated, elderly, single-parent families, refugees, asylum seekers and people with mental health conditions. Whether it’s providing clothing and essentials to a mum who has fled with her children from an abusive relationship or providing footwear to someone who is homeless and has never owned a new pair of shoes, we deliver hope as well as essentials to those in need.
We work with companies who have overstock goods and individuals/communities who wants to donate new, pre-loved or second-hand goods and through our network of charity partners, we support vulnerable individuals and families in need of essential hygiene products, shoes, clothes, underwear, blankets, medical equipment, nappies, school supplies and toys.
Together with our charity partners on the ground we ensure that the aid we deliver is needed and suitable. And that it’s distributed to those in need in an ethical, thoughtful, legal, transparent and positive way.
The pressure of lockdown on already vulnerable families is immense which is why we’re accelerating our activities to supporting more weekly requests from UK charities supporting vulnerable people in need.
Though the UK is a wealthy nation, we have a high number of households living in poverty (around 14 million people are in poverty in the UK – that’s more than one in five of the population) and, with the COVID-19 crisis still unfolding and causing higher levels of unemployment, the situation is getting worse. Access to essential goods and household items is limited for those living on the breadline, and more and more families are finding themselves in dire need during this Pandemic.
Our focus in 2020 was largely mobilising our COVID-19 response. As we start 2021 we are continuing to deliver essential goods to those in need. We work with the NHS hospitals’ front-line staff, foodbanks, the homeless, refugees and asylum seekers, and extremely vulnerable families– delivering hygiene goods, toiletries, toys and food items.
We are receiving more and more requests from local and overseas charities, desperate for basic essentials from nappies, wet wipes, clothing and footwear for all ages – to razors, deodorants, soap and shaving foam. We are therefore looking to expand our reach to work in partnership with more UK and European companies who are able to donate unwanted stock, preventing it from reaching landfill or being incinerated and helping those in need. We love working with corporates who realise that KINDNESS is a corporate mantra which will attract more customers than advertising.
The Prams for Good campaign aligns perfectly with our mission as a charity. Its aim is to take back pushchairs that are in good condition from families, influencers, brands and celebrities, and re-distribute them via a network of independent retailers, logistics companies and local charities to families in need across the UK and overseas.
Not having access to a suitable pushchair means many parents are unable to get outside and access much-needed fresh air and headspace. This can affect their mental health and wellbeing often leaving them unable to cope with parenting and or to develop important supportive social networks. The cost of a prams is unattainable for millions of families in the UK and yet so many unwanted prams, in good condition, end up in landfill – or stuck in the loft. The situation has been made worse by the Pandemic where so many people have lost their jobs, businesses or are furloughed. Refugees and asylum seekers who arrive in the UK in just the clothes they stand up in also need support for their babies and children.
We’re currently working with Didofy, Made for Mums, Dadsnet and Nursery Online to ensure that parents receive a pram for their baby. Our ambition is to roll this out across the whole parenting industry – car seats, food, nursery furniture, feeding products – the needs for the families in need is endless, expensive – and growing. We’re aiming to sign up as many retailers and brands from across the industry as possible.