Safestore and Our Community

Target   Perfomance 2020/21
Provision of free/discounted space and additional support to high impact local community groups
Opportunity led
  18,903 sq ft provided £727,356 worth

Safestore is committed to making a positive contribution within the local communities around our stores. We are keen to deliver long term benefits to society and the local economy consistent with our alignment with SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities). Moreover, we are committed to being a brand that our current and prospective colleagues are proud to work for as well as one that our customers can trust.

We continue to do this by:
  • developing brownfield sites
  • actively engaging with local communities when we establish a new store
  • identifying and implementing greener approaches in the way we build and operate our stores
  • helping charities and communities to make better use of limited space
  • creating and sustaining local employment opportunities directly and indirectly through the many small and medium-sized enterprises which use our space
We aim to create long-standing relationships with charities and organisations that drive positive change within our local communities. We know that we can build trust by operating responsibly and partnering with local and national charities which means that we can support causes that are important to our colleagues, customers and communities. This enables us to address issues such as rising homelessness, enhancing social mobility and creating opportunities for people living and working in the local area.

With 127 stores across the UK we continue to:
  • provide fundraising support to existing and new local charity partners
  • offer free or discounted storage space for charities within our local communities through our ‘charity room in every store’ scheme
  • actively seek out practical and creative solutions by working with and supporting a number of charitable causes
  • leverage social media and our blog platform to promote our charity partners and raise awareness of their cause
During the year, the space occupied by local charities in 222 units across 103 stores was 18,903 sq ft and worth £727,356 (FY2021: £636,945). Our aspiration is to have at least one charity room in every store.

We regularly monitor the free and discounted space occupied by charities, ensuring that the partnerships are running smoothly. In addition, we encourage our colleagues to maintain relationships with the charities we support and we continually review the scheme to ensure that it is beneficial for all involved.

Hands On London

For the eleventh year in a row, Safestore UK teamed up with the WrapUp London campaign to support their annual coat drive to help those in need during the winter of 2021.

More than 23,700 coats were collected during the campaign, which began in early November and ran through December. Coats were distributed to the homeless, refugee families, the elderly, those fleeing domestic violence, and others living in crisis through a network of over 100 London charities and community groups.

WrapUp - St Johns WoodSeveral Safestore UK centres were used as local drop-off points for the public due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions at the time. Our colleagues also offered their support by marketing the campaign via social media, donating their own coats, and offering extra storage space to facilitate the sorting, distribution and packing of the coat donations.

Since the campaign was launched in 2010, volunteers have collected, sorted, and distributed a total of 197,245 winter coats which has made a real positive difference in the lives of the city’s most vulnerable people.

Over the years, and in partnership with WrapUp London, Human Appeal and Rotary Club International, the campaign has extended outside of London to 18 other collections in major towns and cities across the UK including Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Bath, Bristol, Leicester, and Cardiff.

This year, Safestore’s involvement included:
  • providing storage space across 15 stores in London, six stores in Greater Manchester, two in Birmingham, and one each in Bristol, Glasgow, Leicester, and Bath
  • provision of 5,908 sq ft of storage space enabling 913 campaign volunteers to spend 3,924 hours sorting and packing up coats for distribution whilst maintaining social distancing
  • the stores acting as drop-off points beyond the campaign period and receiving numerous donations from other businesses, community organisations and the general public
  • using our internal and external communications platforms to raise awareness of the WrapUp London cause and inspiring our colleagues to get involved locally
"With the country lurching from one crisis to the next, our work with the poor, needy and vulnerable has never been more critical. From people losing their jobs following the Covid-19 pandemic or becoming homeless, to those being forced to flee domestic abuse or war-torn countries, the desperate need for warm coats and jackets for all ages keeps growing.

Now at over ten years old, WrapUp London has become one of the largest winter volunteering campaigns in the city. Whilst its tough that this is still required after all this time, it’s been amazing to see just what can be achieved when people are willing to volunteer their time and efforts. Sadly, the number of people living in challenging circumstances in the city is rising, and now more than ever as we face a cost of living crisis, donations from the public are required to help those in need.

We, alongside our partners Human Appeal and Rotary Club International, are eternally grateful to Safestore for the donation of storage space for the WrapUp campaign now held nationwide. This has meant that coat collections can take place across multiple locations in the UK, and our volunteers also have the space to sort and package up the donations received so we can ensure they get to the right place. Safestore’s support has enabled the collection and distribution of over 197,000 warm coats to date. It’s been great to work with Safestore and we look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come."
Jon Meech - CEO, HandsOn London

Local Charity Support

Making a difference to the communities within which we operate, through partnerships with charities and not-for-profit organisations, is an integral part of our sustainability strategy. These partnerships are a source of pride for our store colleagues and drive ongoing engagement with our purpose. In order to achieve this, we provide financial support to local and national charities, and encourage our colleagues to get involved in fundraising and volunteering.

Food Bank donationsOur Head Office colleagues were able to collate boxes of groceries and treats at Christmas time which were donated to a local foodbank during a lockdown period. We believe it is important for our colleagues to recognise how our activities can have an impact on those around us and it is our hope that any volunteering and fundraising opportunities would inspire and encourage them to get involved and provide hands-on help where it matters.

The provision of free and discounted storage space has helped our charity partners provide immediate support to people facing challenges in our local communities. These include charities supporting the homeless, families struggling with food poverty, and organisations offering mental health services. We are continuing to work collaboratively with our colleagues in store locally as we support our charity partners in helping the communities in the areas within which we operate.

Streets KitchenStreets Kitchen is a UK-based grassroots organisation working to support the homeless community with food outreach programmes, distributing clothing to those in need, and connecting those who want to help with those who need help. Safestore currently provide Streets Kitchen with free storage space enabling the charity, which is run and organised by volunteers, to continue its invaluable work in the London area.

"The team at Streets Kitchen is grateful to Safestore for supplying much needed free storage space. The space means that we can continue to take in donations from our supporters allowing us to better care for those in need in the local area.

The last few years have been challenging, particularly for those living on the streets, and our services are needed more than ever as we head towards a cost of living crisis. This free space means that we can divert the funds we would have spent on storage to be used in other areas which make the most difference to the vulnerable people we serve."

Gem Porter, Founder of Streets Kitchen

Mental health discussion groupSafestore holds a charitable fund with Quartet Community Foundation, dedicated to supporting local organisations that help people in need in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Between April 2021 and March 2022 Quartet awarded over £4.8 million in grants to 888 local charitable organisations, with a third of the funding spent on improving people’s mental health and wellbeing, and a quarter on increasing people’s access to vital services.

A key part of the work last year, in the aftermath of the pandemic, has been to strengthen the voluntary sector organisations which have played a crucial role in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities.

Construction and the community

We strive to minimise any negative impact of our business operations on our local communities as well as on our environment. We register all our new store developments with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, and we engage with our immediate neighbours on all projects by sending out regular newsletters about what we are doing or if we have any noisy work planned that may create a nuisance.

When we tender for various construction projects, we always look to give local companies the opportunity to tender for the various construction packages.

In the summer of 2022, Safestore joined forces with construction partner UC Build to sponsor the Great Merton Mencap Art Competition, an accessible competition for children, young people, and adults with a learning disability. After a public exhibition, the winner’s artwork in each category was printed onto greetings cards and sold to the public to raise funds for Merton Mencap.

In the run up to our new Morden store opening, we established the location as a drop-off point for members of the public to drop off groceries and other essentials for a local foodbank providing emergency food and support to people in crisis.

It is our ongoing commitment to ensure that we act responsibly and ethically wherever we construct our storage sites across all the markets in which we operate.
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