Kingfisher plc, the international home improvement company which owns B&Q and Screwfix in the UK, has surpassed its original target to help one million people by helping to improve homes and supporting community projects across Europe.
In 2016, Kingfisher set a target to help more than one million people with housing needs by 2025, as part of the Group’s commitment to fight to fix bad housing. Through charity partnerships Kingfisher and its retail banners have supported projects that range from helping families with home repairs, to renovations for rehousing projects and teaching people essential DIY skills. Last June, the Group doubled its ambition and now aims to help two million people by 2025.
Kingfisher colleagues have played a role in supporting initiatives to improve housing for those most in need. In Poland, colleagues transformed empty buildings into safe and secure homes as part of a ‘Repurposing Empty Spaces’ project with Habitat for Humanity. In France, ‘DIY advisors’ travelled to rural communities as part of the Bricobus project to teach socially isolated people essential DIY skills. In the UK, projects have included the building of a summer house for a children’s hospice in Northern Ireland and the refurbishing of flats for young people leaving care in England.
Caroline Laurie, Director of Responsible Business and Sustainability at Kingfisher said:
“Everyone deserves a home where they can feel warm, secure and safe. Our commitment to fight to fix bad housing is part of our ambition to lead the industry on responsible business practices and is integral to our strategy, ‘Powered by Kingfisher’. We’re committed to using our knowledge, experience, and scale to achieve a positive impact and to make better homes accessible for everyone.
“We’re proud to have reached the target we originally set ourselves of helping one million people across Europe. But we know there is more to do, so last year we doubled our ambition to help two million people who live in unfit housing by 2025. We have now established charitable foundations in all of our businesses and believe this will help to accelerate our progress so that we can help more people live in better homes.”
Each of Kingfisher’s retail banners has achieved significant milestones in helping the communities in which they operate, including:
- B&Q Foundation has awarded over £1.6 million in grants, helping hundreds of local charities create better, safer places for the people in our communities who need them most.
- B&Q has partnered with housing charity Shelter and funded its DIY Skills Adviser Service, which provides practical help and basic DIY training to people who are struggling with bad housing or settling into a new home after a period of homelessness.
- Screwfix Foundation has a clear purpose of raising funds to support projects that will improve properties and community facilities for those in need. To date, the foundation has supported over 2,000 local charities and not-for-profit organisations since it launched in 2013, including the Anxious Minds project creating a safe environment for vulnerable women, and the Tapestry project offering a centre of wellbeing to support disabled people.
- Castorama France Foundation has partnered with Compagnons Bâtisseurs Bricobus, empowering people to develop essential DIY skills.
- Brico Dépôt France supports the association CJ – Femmes Solidarité 91 by helping victims of domestic abuse and their children.
- Brico Dépôt Romania runs the “We Rebuild Lives” initiative with Habitat for Humanity Romania, funding projects to improve the quality of life in disadvantaged communities and helping those most vulnerable in the pandemic.
- Brico Dépôt Iberia’s local charity partnerships support projects focused on providing facilities for those at risk of social exclusion as well as giving opportunities to start a career.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter said:
“Home is everything. Yet the housing emergency means millions of people in Britain are trapped living in unfit homes. Every day at Shelter we support families who are living in poor conditions or desperately trying to keep a roof over their heads. We know all too well the stress and suffering that comes with not having a safe and secure home.
That’s why we are incredibly grateful for Kingfisher’s ongoing support. Through our partnership with B&Q, our DIY Skills Advisers continue to provide help and training on home improvements to those who have experienced homelessness or bad housing, supporting them to create a safe and happy home.”