Safestore and Our Community

Target   Perfomance 2020/21
Provision of free/discounted space and additional support to high impact local community groups   18,266 sq ft provided worth £636,945

Safestore remains committed to being a responsible business in making a positive contribution within the local communities wherever our stores are based. We are keen to deliver long term benefits to society and the local economy with a focus on working towards 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 226 units across 102 stores was 18,266 sq ft and worth £636,945 (FY2020: £451,508). 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

The 2020 WrapUp London campaign was a little different than usual. Normally characterised by large tube station and office collections, this year’s tenth anniversary campaign was held in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Several Safestore UK centres were used as local drop-off points for the public and these were supported by over 90 collections undertaken by WrapUp volunteers in their local communities. Having these local collection centres meant that people could still donate safely during essential journeys and within Covid-19 guidelines.

wrapup-holloway-rd-low-res.jpgIn November 2020, we provided storage space at several stores across the UK to facilitate the quarantining, sorting, storage and distribution of 26,373 coats to over 100 charities, community groups and projects including homeless shelters, refugees, vulnerable women and children’s centres.

The campaign continues to expand nationwide, and Safestore UK is pleased to have been able to partner with WrapUp London and Human Appeal to run the coat collection for a fifth year in Manchester and a fourth year in the cities of Birmingham and Glasgow, as well as in Bath and Leicester.

Safestore’s involvement included:
  • providing storage space across 15 stores in London, six stores in Greater Manchester and one each in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leicester and Bath
  • provision of 5,044 sq ft of storage space enabling 737 campaign volunteers to spend over 3,814.5 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
"The Covid-19 pandemic affected all of us in different ways, but for the most vulnerable in our society, the impact has been almost unimaginable. Lockdowns, furlough and failing businesses have put many people into crisis. Homelessness and the number of people forced onto the streets increased, and the demand for warm coats during the winter was the highest we had ever experienced.

Despite the lockdown periods, the WrapUp coat collection is something that many people have come to depend on. Things were very different this year due to the restrictions on movement during the campaign; however, 15 Safestore centres acted as local drop-off points meaning people did not have to travel far, or into the cities, to donate a coat.

We have worked together with Safestore on the WrapUp campaign for the last nine years and they have supported us each year by providing vital storage space for our annual coat collection. And as we celebrated ten years of WrapUp coat collections, it has been absolutely wonderful to see the willingness of the public, businesses and local organisations across the UK to come together during the pandemic to help people experiencing hardship."
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.

We believe it is important for our colleagues to recognise how our activities can have an impact on those around us. Volunteering and fundraising opportunities can inspire and encourage them to get involved and provide hands-on help where it matters.

In addition to our fundraising and voluntary activities, we continue to support individuals and local charities with free and discounted storage space through our ‘charity room in every store’ scheme.

The provision of this 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 teams locally as we support our charity partners in helping the communities in the areas within which we operate.


"We are incredibly grateful to Safestore for their long-standing support of people affected by crime. We are thrilled to have had their backing for over ten years now.

Their donated storage space has been especially valuable for us throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to social distancing measures, our access to multi-agency office space has been limited; therefore, we have had to move an increasing amount of our stock into storage.

Even before the pandemic, we relied on the space provided by Safestore as a safe and secure place to store our equipment at no extra cost.

By reducing our costs, Safestore enables us to direct more funds to our services for people struggling with the consequences of crime, allowing us to empower them in their coping and recovery."

Jordan Goucher, Fundraising Manager, Victim Support

Alongside donating or discounting storage space, Safestore often takes part in a number of events each year in order to raise money or awareness for charitable causes; for example, we donated many cardboard boxes for various charitable causes such as City Hearts and The Suit Works.

Eastside-Community-Trust-low-res.jpgSafestore holds a charitable fund with Quartet Community Foundation, dedicated to supporting local people in need and the charities they rely on. Between April 2020 and March 2021, Quartet awarded over £5.2 million in grants to more than 930 charitable organisations.

Together, these funded projects supported over 590,000 people in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. This included those self-isolating or shielding, hungry families and people needing mental health support due to the pressures of the pandemic. Many of these people are often marginalised from mainstream support and opportunities or live in the most deprived areas.

Fareshare-low-res.jpgThis year, we were awarded the prestigious Investors in People (“IIP”) Platinum accreditation and in celebration of this, Safestore donated £10,000 to FareShare. This donation helped FareShare get the equivalent of 40,000 meals in food to people who are struggling to afford or access a decent meal. The funding has an impact nationwide, allowing FareShare to reach local charities and community groups with more good-to-eat surplus, from school breakfast clubs, community cafés and food banks to women’s refuges and homeless shelters.

"We are very grateful for Safestore’s support. Their generous £10k donation during the pandemic has made it possible for FareShare to get the equivalent of 40,000 meals to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. As we tentatively head out of lockdown, demand for food remains high and delivering more meals will play a valuable part in preventing hunger and ensuring that we do not leave our struggling communities behind."
Alyson Walsh, Commercial Director, FareShare

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 give local companies the opportunity to bid. Currently we average at 25% of local companies bidding, though this is now at 50% with some of the packages for our upcoming store in Morden as suppliers for steelwork and cladding are based in the local area.

With the Covid-19 restrictions over the last 18 months, we have not been able to engage with the local community as much as we would have liked but we plan to do more activities to benefit them during 2022.
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