The main aim of this JustGiving Crowdfund page, is to raise funds for a large Refrigerated Van, to use as the following. This needs to be a taller vehicle, and long wheelbase, and already been used which will means it will have been converted. The van in picture is one of many we can get from companies upgrading but are under 5 years old and normally well maintained. A vehicle this size would be the equivalent of 3 or 4 we currently use, so emissions and fuel costs would be greatly saved
PLEASE READ THE LIST NEW ADDED RELEVANT PART AT THE BOTTOM WITH DIFFERENT FONT, AS ITS JUST SOME INFORMATION, WHAT WAS AN AFTER THOUGHT WITH SOME LOCAL HELP, AND SOME ANSWER TO WHY IT APPEARS WE HAVE JUST LEFT THIS LATE IN THE DATE AND NOW HAVE THE URGENCY TO GET A LARGE VAN AT THIS STAGE.
I have carried out voluntary work for over 20 years, doing various roles, not for any particular charity, but I tend to be talked into helping out wherever possible.
I have a medium size van which I have used mainly to do this work, by helping others with getting to and from voluntary events, as well as picking up items that have been donated to many charities. This could range from collecting used mobile phones, ink cartridges and clothing to charities in the UK. These are then used to raise funds for charities, once they are dropped to delivery points of their choice. I also help out where possible collecting food, and similar items, to give to homeless charities and food banks, as well as old stocked items also given to homeless charities to help others.
I use a storage facility in Twickenham, West London, for part of my own personal work. Over the years I have used this facility to help store goods like clothing, sleeping bags and even old pharmaceuticals, first aid equipment and also food near it’s best before date, which has been dropped around the UK, but they have also become useful to charities within the EU, and also on wards in war zones.
I tend to do at least 2 trips a month to countries like France & Germany as drop off points for others to collect items, to transport further around the world or used in them countries. Even though I do most of this from my own funds, some charities will help towards fuel, etc, but I have paid the majority of costs, involved in the work, as think it’s only fair to give back to others, and have never thought any different. I have also lent my van to others, who help with the volunteering, as there are many people around that do this work. This can help me out at times especially if I have lots of bits in storage, and don’t have the time to clear the items out in one go. I also load my donated goods to other volunteers vehicles as there is many people who do the same as me.
Several things have changed over the past year, which means several other volunteers and I have spoken about how we have had to change the way we do things, if we want to continue for years to come.
One of the the main issues that we have to consider is as we do a lot of drop offs, locally or around London, we will now come under the new Ultra Low Emissions Zones, which is due to spread within the M25 area. Therefore we need to think ahead as a group and get a vehicle which will pass the emissions test, or a larger vehicle, to cut down the amount of vehicles used so we pay just one charge between the group. There are enough vans around to get one second hand with reasonable miles, and only 4-5 years old, so we cut down on possible service or maintenance costs.
We are getting a lot of food items that need to be in cold storage, or at least low temperatures so we can distribute whilst still fresh. We have also had requests about medical items needing the same situation, so this will help solve this issue. A fridge van nearly also comes with facilities to start pallets down, or divide goods up so we can carry out a trip with half a cold store and not freezing in the other half. This also gives us a vehicle we can pressure wash out, after each use, which these vehicles are ideal.
One of the biggest issues we have faced over the past year especially is people see us loading into unmarked vans with old mobile phones etc we have become targets for criminals, and my vehicle has had attempted thefts from it, as most vans have ways to pop the doors open quite easily, and the criminals think they may also contain tools, so are easy targets. The fridge vans, normally have different doors on the side and rear and can be locked and padlocked, and most people believe they contain food so the temptation drops a bit with thieves.
The general consensus is that if we managed to fund one vehicle, we have all agreed to use and store the vehicle between us, cutting down insurance and running costs, and at some point, we will be able to sell up our old damaged vans to possibly fund another large vehicle if this project works. This will also give us a way to get one ULEZ charge free vehicle.
We we have asked for a secondhand vehicle, mainly because of cost, and with this in mind, most of these converted vehicles are well maintained by companies, as well as the conversion costs have been dealt with when the vehicle was converted from new. £6000 for a 5 year old used vehicle with no VaT, instead of £30-35,000 new including VAT and conversion, so this is really a good deal if we can raise the funds.
We will have other costs, like new stainless steel racking, pallets etc, as well as making sure it is fully up and running and possibly an electric charging pack, so we can plug this vehicle in to the mains to keep cool whilst parked at the secure parking facility. Anything raised over the £7000 we hope to raise will be used only for getting this shared project running, and we are in agreement that we will fund anything else needed from there ourselves.
ADDED SECTION, WHICH WAS AN AFTER THOUGHT, BUT HAS RELEVANCE TO THE NEED TO GET THIS PROJECT FUNDED NOW, AND WHY WE ARE A BIT NOT SUPER TECHNICAL WITH WEBSITES.
Two really important bits I want to add since this was setup, as I am not the best in building web pages on funding sites, but someone has offered us something which may help get some funds for us. It was a suggestion, but think it only right. A company we collect cartridges and misprinted paper etc, which is given to charities, has stated they would sign write or print out a vinyl to wrap part of the van. We don’t really want all our pictures etc, and have decided as a group, that anyone who donates large or small, can email us within the donation and tell us if they want their name, company or business advertised or at least stated on it who helped us with this new era. We think it fair, to make the list of names in batches and if we get some large donations, they can get a choice to have a picture, brand or QR code or website added to the vinyl wrap. It protects the van whilst showing others we have had some great support.
We also hope to have more photos to upload of bits we have delivered around the UK and EU so you know the things we pick up. We are thinking about the video, but it is getting someone local to help us, as we don’t have the right skills or equipment to do this. We may just upload one of our collections and deliveries with a small camera so you understand its not about value of goods etc, its just us helping move items that are donated and used by others. Apart from safety of the goods, we don’t tend to have an interest in value of what is donated.
I just wanted to say that I am not really the professional within social media, and trying to raise money. Most of the requests we get to collect and drop off items, are via email or via people networks, we have worked with over the years, and most know we want to help as much as possible, but we have never really set up as a charity as it was never intended to help others this way.
We do understand that we have to move forward to help more people, so this is one of the reasons to try and have one vehicle doing most of our work until we can be sure we can set up, a new website, emails, social media accounts, during this process. If the funding gets us a larger vehicle we can then see if we will need more funding, but at present this should take us into next year, and should help us work out how we can reach out to more companies and individuals to help more people. We have never done this to make money or profit from it, but now realise we will have to raise some funds so we can grow and adapt to how people want us to help others, to then help others.
I didn’t want to mention this bit but other colleague’s said people may ask, so I want to explain why we feel a little behind with the new ULEZ zone and charging which was our main purpose to get a second-hand vehicle now. I have run most of the email account etc, and have paid for the storage place myself. Unfortunately, over the last 18 months, I have had to deal with several lots of treatment for skin cancers, then I went downhill with pneumonia, and to top it off, I caught MRSA. What I did learn from this, is that even though we have done a lot of voluntary bits for charities, I have now seen how much they actually do for others. Take for instance Macmillan. This is just one of the great charities that have helped me over the past year, and they literally threw the help at me, and never asked for something in return. I can’t pay them back financially, but if I can give them some of my time back, I will, knowing that its not all about money, health does come first. Like all the charities and people, we work with, it’s just giving what you can to help out.