Foodbank’s help from online “box boffins”

One of the UK’s biggest and busiest Foodbanks has invested in new super-tough storage boxes to help its volunteers do their job more efficiently.

The Welcome Centre in Huddersfield has been supporting the people of South Kirklees for more than 20 years, but its operation has expanded significantly since 2000, when it became a registered charity. Based in the town centre, its aim is to support people in crisis throughout the area by providing the help or advice they need in a friendly and respectful way.

A core part of this work is running its busy foodbank, providing emergency packs to people in crisis who are referred to The Welcome Centre by more than 130 front-line social services and agencies across the area. Run by a team of more than 60 volunteers, the foodbank currently gives out around 180 packs each week, but regularly tops 200.

A typical food pack contains enough provisions to last one person seven days – double the amount provided by many food banks – and the Welcome Centre also supplies emergency packs of toiletries, household goods, bedding and some clothing. It relies on donations and an army of local fund-raisers, supporters and volunteers to provide its vital services to people in crisis.

One practical aspect of its work is storing the donated goods in its warehouse at The Welcome Centre ready for distribution, but volunteers were struggling with the storage boxes they used.

Centre Manager Karen Selley said: “We were using clear plastic boxes that we bought from the local discount store when they were on offer, but they just weren’t up to the job. They kept splitting and then they can cut you, so it wasn’t safe for our volunteers.

“Our boxes get worked hard, we move things around a lot and there’s a lot of stock rotation, so we needed something stronger.”

Researching online, Karen found PlasticBoxShop, the UK’s leading online retailer of plastic storage boxes for every purpose. One of their recent bestsellers is the new ‘virtually indestructible’ Wham BamBox, made in Britain from a new type of plastic designed to resist high impact.

Karen contacted the Yorkshire-based company and spoke its founder and MD Gary Lyons, who said: “When Karen told me about their problem I knew the Wham BamBox was the ideal solution.

“The boxes they were using are fine for the kind of storage where you put something away once and leave it for a long time, but their boxes are in constant use and often full of heavy items. It’s all about the right box for the right job, and our PlasticBoxShop ‘box boffins’ are the experts at that.”

After hearing about the work of The Welcome Centre Gary worked out a special discount deal with Karen and 20 of the new 62-litre Wham BamBoxes were delivered a few days later.

“They’re already in use and we’ll certainly put them to the test,” said Karen.

“They are a bit dearer, but buying the other boxes was a false economy because we had to replace them so often. These Wham BamBoxes should last us a lot longer and pay for themselves over time.”

The Welcome Centre foodbank
Some of the volunteers at The Welcome Centre with the new super-tough Wham BamBoxes already in use

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