“We cannot thank Splash Projects and Santander Consumer Finance enough for what you all did – we cannot believe how much was done in such a short amount of time”
June 2022 saw our thirteenth Big Build Splash Project with Santander Consumer Finance UK. We worked with 140 employees (including from the PSA Group and Volvo) over four days at two sites (allotment and warehouse) for food bank charity Loveworks in Reigate, Surrey.
Six months on, Kate Curtis, Chief Charity Officer for Loveworks, has given this overview of the impact the project has had on the community…
I cannot emphasise what a fantastic impact you have made on our organisation. You helped us realise a number of our aims and other new opportunities. When you first approached us, I was apprehensive as it seemed so big, but you helped us rethink and challenge our approach of making ‘small’ changes.
We would definitely recommend other charities to take the plunge, trust what you can do, and be open to opportunities. Thank you to everyone at Splash and Santander who were involved.
- The improvements would have taken us years to achieve.
- More growing space plus areas for volunteers to meet and enjoy the garden.
- Our small team of volunteers now has a safer, improved environment to work and grow produce in.
- During the summer, weekly deliveries of produce were taken to our food banks and community fridges in Merstham and Woodhatch. This meant that people had fresh produce and some fruit and vegetables they would not otherwise have had access to.
- More produce being grown.
- Food bank users and 40+ families having fresh produce.
- Advertising of Loveworks at the allotment site helped generate donations; we had quite a few people contacting us after walking past.
- Having the build done for us means that we can focus on setting up our new allotment in Woodhatch which will have a beneficiary focus allowing them to access the allotment and be involved with the growing which has a positive impact on healthy eating on a budget and mental wellbeing.
- The project transformed our warehouse: the new wooden shelving provided a separate space for stock and packing parcels, from the back-up storage areas.
- The tables and trollies are providing a much-improved environment for volunteers to pack food parcels and their feedback has been fantastic – since July nearly 1,050 parcels have been packed on the new tables.
- The small room has become a volunteer, meeting and education room. This has enabled us to invite in more corporate and school teams, increasing awareness of our work and therefore, donations.
- Over 50 volunteers use the warehouse so this is really helping improve morale and retention.
- The large donation storage areas mean that the floor is generally clear of unsorted donations and everything is raised and easy to access.
- Better use of space means we no longer need to use additional storage units so all of our stock is in one place.
- We can store more donations which is getting more important as our number of users increases.
BIG BUILD MADRID
This is the first year we have conducted a two-phase Big Build: in September, a total of 50 employees from Santander Consumer Finance UK and Santander Consumer Finance HQ, Madrid, joined forces to improve the planting area at Fundacion Manatial, a non-profit organisation which improves social and health care for people with mental health problems in Madrid.
There are 30 residents at the centre and a further 150 people who use the residence as a drop-in facility.
Six months on, Andrés Brunello, Centre Director, has given this overview of the impact the project has had on the community…
- The new growing area has enabled residents to have one-to-one support, with the role of planting, tending and harvesting the vegetables proving to be a relaxing and therapeutic way for support workers to engage with residents.
- Currently, the produce is used as part of healthy meals provision at the centre but the improvements mean there is now an opportunity for the produce to be sold, providing an extra income stream.
- The improved garden has also enabled a closer link between the centre and the wider community; in November, 20 children visited the garden to plant vegetables with the residents and there are hopes to extend this connection further.