Shop Direct targets £600K fundraise for homeless charities

David Carter

North West homelessness charities The Booth Centre and The Whitechapel Centre have been were unveiled as Shop Direct’s new charity partners at a dinner at the etailer’s Liverpool headquarters.

Shop Direct will raise £600,000 over the next two years through colleague activities and events, as well as providing industry-leading knowledge and insight to help the two hubs introduce new technology-enabled solutions to support the homeless and their families, as well as those at risk of homelessness.

Shop Direct’s biggest ever charity partnership will help the organisations introduce internet cafés in five homeless centres across the North West, where dedicated coordinators will deliver training and homework sessions to improve IT literacy.

In addition, a web-based online advice and support service will be established in Merseyside to help prevent homelessness amongst young people, buoyed by new technology to deliver more timely and relevant support at the point of contact.

The money raised by the partnership will help to fund a schools awareness programme to educate young people in the community about homelessness and poverty, to break the cycle of deprivation, and reduce the risk of homelessness for future generations.

The partnership, which is being shared between Booth in Manchester and Whitechapel in Liverpool respectively for the first time, will mean giving 4,000 people access to new IT facilities, supporting 400 more people into employment and volunteering, helping an additional 400 people access education or training opportunities, and reaching over 10,000 young people through the schools programme.

Amanda Croome, chief executive at The Booth Centre, said: “We’re hugely excited to be working with Shop Direct on this partnership. It’ll make a massive difference to homeless people and, in particular, helping to prevent people at risk of homelessness across Greater Manchester from becoming homeless in the first place.”

David Carter, chief executive at The Whitechapel Centre, said: “This partnership is really big for us. Not only will the money raised help to deliver vital new tech-enabled services for the homeless people we help across Merseyside, but Shop Direct’s guidance on the best way to implement that technology will be a real benefit.”

Shop Direct colleagues across its sites, who wanted to support young people and their families living in poverty, voted for the two charities.

For the company’s 2016/17 charity partnership, Shop Direct’s people raised £440,000 to digitally equip Claire House’s new site, which will support hundreds of seriously and terminally ill children in Liverpool and the wider North West.

Alex Baldock, chief executive at Shop Direct, said: “These two charities are having a huge effect on the lives of homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless in the North West. At Shop Direct, our people vote for which charities we get behind, and I’m delighted with their choice.

“We’ll be helping our communities, and young people in particular, not just with financial support, we’ll also work with The Booth Centre and The Whitechapel Centre to give them our digital know-how so they can use technology to deliver on their purpose and leave a lasting legacy.

“£600,000 is our most ambitious target yet, but I’m confident that our people will rise to the occasion, working together for these two fantastic charities in Manchester and Liverpool.”