Former Prime Minister appeals to groups to join a ‘coalition of compassion’ together with Amazon and Comic Relief to support the nationwide expansion of the Multibank initiative.

Comic Relief and Amazon have launched a dedicated Multibank Fund to help finance the expansion of the Multibank initiative, co-founded by Amazon and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2022. The new fund will help to provide 500,000 families in need with basic essentials, donated from six multibanks by the end of 2024.

The ‘Brick-by-Brick’ project with support from Amazon, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and Wigan charity The Brick will donate essential goods to more than 50,000 families in the region this year.

At a meeting in London on 16 November, Gordon Brown will invite socially responsible businesses and philanthropic foundations to join together in a ‘coalition of compassion’. He will call for the donation of surplus essential goods and money to accelerate the national rollout of The Multibank initiative to meet the growing needs of families experiencing poverty across the UK.

Multibanks offer an emergency service for families fighting poverty, providing surplus essentials like nappies, toilet rolls, toothpaste and school uniforms, donated by businesses like Amazon and others, directly to those in need and so helping to reduce waste.

The two multibanks already up and running in Fife and Wigan have donated more than 1.5 million surplus items, supporting over 150,000 families experiencing poverty across Scotland and Greater Manchester.

The Multibank charity initiative reaches a new milestone thanks to a partnership between Amazon, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, local charities, businesses and suppliers.

Gordon Brown said: “We are now seeing poverty in Britain on a scale I never thought we’d see again. It is this winter crisis ahead that makes us appeal for emergency actions and a new social contract between companies and charities.

“Children cannot be made to pay in their life chances and from their very earliest years for the continuing cost of living crisis. The success of our multibanks in Fife and Wigan shows big business can make substantial differences to families’ ability to care for their children which is a benefit to us all in future.

“I call on all companies to give what they can – surplus goods or money – to support this important initiative against poverty. We have a particular need for household cleaning and hygiene goods so that children don’t need to be sent to school unwashed and without clean teeth.”

An image of a warehouse with lots of boxes of donations
Donations at the Fife multibank

Keely Dalfen, CEO of Wigan multibank Brick-by-Brick, said: ‘’The Brick has seen first-hand the growing levels of poverty in Greater Manchester, but since launching England’s first multibank in March we are able to offer a lifeline. We can ensure that everyone has access to the basic essentials, to help build resilience in the face of destitution. This crisis goes beyond the individual, it has lasting impact on our children, our communities and across generations, but as a partnership of businesses, and voluntary and community organisations, we can do so much more.’’

According to a recent report from The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, approximately 3.8 million people in the UK, including around 1 million children, experienced destitution last year – meaning they could not afford to adequately feed, clothe or clean themselves, or keep themselves warm. The crisis will only worsen this winter.

John Boumphrey, Amazon UK Country Manager, said: “Our goal is to help as many families as possible by connecting surplus essentials from Amazon and other businesses, with those who need it most. We’re incredibly proud of the impact the multibanks in Fife and Wigan are having and we are committed to expand to six sites nationwide next year, but we need more donations. We’re calling for businesses to come onboard and join our coalition of compassion – help us to ensure that no good product goes to waste, and no family goes without the basics they need.”

While Amazon has donated the bulk of products to date, The Multibank concept has attracted many other corporate supporters including Accrol, the Bell Group, Blue Earth Clean, Craig & Rose Paint, Fishers Laundry, Kraft Heinz, Morrisons, The Paint Shed, PepsiCo, The Purvis Group, Scotmid, SemiChem, Tesco, Unilever, The Textile Services Association, Whitbread and Vision Linens.

A group of volunteers holding trolleys with donations
Volunteers at the Fife multibank

Samir Patel, CEO of Comic Relief, said: “Families are in crisis across the country - the scale and severity of poverty is growing at a frightening rate leaving millions struggling to get by and afford the basics to keep themselves and their children warm, clean, and healthy. The expansion of The Multibank initiative couldn’t come at a better time as the situation for many will only deteriorate over winter.

Multibanks also rely on financial support provided by family foundations and others including the Ainscough family,, Enders Analysis, Fife Council, The Gannochy Trust, The Northwood Charitable Trust, the Orchard Foundation, the Robertson Trust and the Souter Trust.
For more information or to find out how to support The Multibank Fund visit