The ‘Brick by Brick’ project has launched with support from Amazon, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham to donate more than 400,000 surplus essential goods to more than 50,000 families in need in Greater Manchester this year.
The project will be a community donations hub where Amazon and other companies can donate a wide range of surplus products and reach people directly through a network of charity groups and care professionals in the community including teachers, midwives and social workers.
In February 2023, more than 32,500 people in Wigan and Leigh were claiming Universal Credit, and 29 of the borough’s 200 neighbourhoods fall within the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in England, accounting for roughly 15 percent of Wigan’s total population.
‘Brick by Brick’ is an extension of the ‘multibank’ model first launched in Fife, Scotland as ‘The Big House’ in 2022. It was led by Amazon, Gordon Brown and local charity The Cottage Family Centre, which has now supported 50,000 families in Fife, Edinburgh and the Lothians with more than 500,000 products donated.
The project will bring together the knowledge and network of The Brick together with other local charities, logistics expertise and donations from Amazon, as well as product donations from other national and local retailers to provide the right products at the right time. The multibank model is agile – it will onboard new suppliers and partners to provide products that meet the particular needs of families in the area. This includes essential items like bedding, toiletries, nappies, wipes, clothing, backpacks, home furnishings, lightings and electrical products.
Amazon helped set-up the warehouse operations at the Brick-by-Brick project site in Wigan with a contribution of pro-bono staffing, operations advice and an initial cash grant of £100,000 to support the recruitment, salaries and training of the team.
Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister, said: “I am delighted that the multibank which started in Fife in Scotland as ‘The Big House’ is now being opened in Wigan as the ‘Brick by Brick’ project serving families in the region. And I want to applaud the combined efforts of The Brick charity and Amazon who have already provided 60,000 goods to families free of charge. Brick by Brick is a path-breaking project that links companies who have surplus goods to charities who know the people who need them. And it is providing toiletries, bedding and furnishings, clothes and food with a delivery target for Greater Manchester as ambitious as in Scotland which has delivered 500,000 goods, worth around £10m in its first year.”
Keely Dalfen, CEO of The Brick, said: “The Brick, and the wider voluntary and third sector, is facing unprecedented demand as the cost-of-living crisis hits families hard. An increasing number of individuals and families need advice and practical assistance, and our services are stretched like never before. Added to this already harsh situation, we are now seeing significantly more in-work families pushed into poverty. “Through this project we are now able to provide additional help to the people in need in our borough. By facilitating this project, we are taking action to tackle the huge crisis that we are facing.