25 May 2012

GreenSquare's cash and clothing boost for Oxford charity

An Oxford-based charity this week benefitted from our recent name change and re-branding.

When OCHA and Westlea housing associations changed their trading name and branding to 'GreenSquare' last month, they wanted to make the process as green as possible and involved local recycling charity Aspire.

Chief executive David Ashmore and Board chair Hilary Gardner visited social enterprise scheme Aspire this week to present a cheque for £1500 and learn more about how the three tonnes of clothing they have already donated will support the charity's work.

Aspire is a thriving social enterprise scheme, based in Oxford, that supports people who have experienced homelessness, unemployment, substance misuse, and poor mental/physical health. Aspire strive for positive change in their lives by providing full training, access to employment, and work-focused training in real business situations.

As part of its branding change, GreenSquare challenged its staff to recycle all old uniforms to raise funds for Aspire because they can raise income from recycling the clothes. Staff were asked to bring filled bags of old uniforms and other donated clothes to help meet the 'Going Green Clothing Challenge' and GreenSquare match-funded their work with a donation of £500 per tonne of clothing donated by staff.

The visit saw GreenSquare chair Hilary Gardner and GreenSquare chief executive David Ashmore tour the Aspire workshops and meet service users repairing and cleaning clothes for resale and shredding unusable items for use as fillings – as well as the painting and repairing of old furniture for resale. The visit concluded by presenting Aspire with a cheque for £1500, following the donation of three tonnes of old uniform items and other clothing from GreenSquare staff.

"It's great to be able to see Aspire's inspirational work at first hand," said Hilary Gardner. "We're really pleased that our clothing donations have gone to help such a worthy cause and are glad to present this additional financial contribution that we know really will help change people's lives."

Aspire chief executive Jenny Fox said: "Being the greenest of local social enterprises, Aspire will take the donated clothing and generate work for volunteers and generate £500 per tonne of earned income into the organisation. This will be re-invested in our clients, paying for training, support and practical things like uniforms.

"All the old branded work wear will be shredded by Aspire’s team, prior to sending to a textile company which uses them for mattress fillings and rags. For non-uniform donated clothing, Aspire will try and re-sell as much as they can through our market stall and other outlets. It’s win-win all the way. Disadvantaged people get work experience and a step on the ladder towards their new life. Aspire earn income from the proceeds to plough back into the social enterprise to help even more local disadvantaged people."

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