Half a million essential products have now been donated to families in need across Scotland by “The Big House” charity coalition, founded just one year ago by Amazon’s Fulfilment Centre in Dunfermline and the nearby Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy, whose patron is former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
In January 2022, Amazon announced it would work with a coalition of Scottish charities, brought together by Mr Brown to donate goods from a dedicated warehouse, based in Lochgelly, as part of the 'The Big House' project.
The Cottage Family Centre provide support to families and individuals who are vulnerable to social exclusion as a result of poverty, poor housing, unemployment, relationship breakdown, drug and alcohol problems, or other health-related issues. The Big House initially committed to supporting families in Fife when it launched and has expanded to Edinburgh and The Lothians.
This month marks a milestone of 500,000 products donated principally by Amazon, but with support from other businesses, including Fishers Laundry, Craig & Rose Paint, Morrisons, The Paint Shed, Blue Earth Clean, Tesco, SemiChem, Vision, Morrisons, Scotmid, Purvis, PepsiCo, the Bell Group and others.
The Cottage Family Centre and I want to thank Amazon for their leadership in bringing so many companies on board and providing the expertise and logistics as well as the goodwill to ensure that 500,000 goods worth around £10 million have been delivered to thousands of families in need.
And so far, 500 charity and social partners, including social workers, teachers and midwives, have been able to access goods from the Lochgelly warehouse to support those they serve. As agents, they make referrals on behalf of their clients for household goods they require, which are then processed by warehouse staff and made available for collection to be delivered by charity partners to local families.
The Lochgelly warehouse is now dubbed the UK’s first ‘Multibank’ because of the range of goods now being deposited there to be drawn down on and put to good use by families in need.
Goods such as bedding, toilet roll, nappies, wipes and toiletries to clothing, backpacks, home furnishings, lightings and electrical products having been donated, or banked, at the warehouse – which was provided free-of-charge ahead of the initial launch by Bob Purvis, chairman of The Purvis Group, with Amazon teams working side-by-side with The Cottage Family Centre and other charity partners to ensure the goods companies no longer want can be put to use by families who need them the most.
Amazon helped set-up the warehouse operations at the site with a contribution of pro bono staffing, operations advice and an initial cash grant of £150,000 to support the recruitment, salaries and training of the site staff.
Pauline Buchan, Manager at The Cottage Family Centre, says the essential items provide families with real, meaningful support that allow them the opportunity to progress – not only by making their houses into safe and comfortable homes, but also providing them with the opportunity for new horizons.
“Amazon’s support for children and families who are experiencing poverty and, in some cases, sadly, suffering from destitution across Fife, has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Pauline.
“When we began this project just over a year ago, we hoped to be able to reach 13,000 families across Fife but thanks to Amazon’s contribution of now over 500,000 essential items, we have more than tripled this target. We would never have believed this outcome was possible when we began. With over 500 practitioners from midwives to social workers, from charity workers to schools, Amazons support has enabled our community network to provide timely practical support for families.
“I want to pay tribute to every single Amazon team member – from staff processing essential item donations, to the management team both locally and nationally - who continue to be absolutely determined and committed to this project. Their care, support and enthusiasm has been key to the project’s success. They share our values and aspirations to do more for families who are struggling on a daily basis across our communities, and we feel hugely privileged to have the opportunity to work alongside them.”
Gordon Brown, Cottage Family Centre patron and former Prime Minister said: “The Cottage Family Centre and I want to thank Amazon for their leadership in bringing so many companies on board and providing the expertise and logistics as well as the goodwill to ensure that 500,000 goods worth around £10 million have been delivered to thousands of families in need in Fife and now also Edinburgh and in supporting the expansion to other areas of Scotland and Britain.
“There is much more to do over coming years but there are children who have gone without food who are now nourished, sleeping under sheets without a duvet, blankets or bed who can now enjoy a night’s sleep and who were going to school in ill-fitting clothes who now have the outfits they need.”
Simon McMahon, Senior Programme Manager in Amazon UK’s Impact team, is originally from Fife and has overseen the project since its inception in January 2022.
“Having been involved with this project from the start, I’ve witnessed first-hand just how many families are sadly in need of extra support,” said Simon.
“I’m proud that Amazon and its partners have donated half a million products to families in the area. This project is about businesses, organisations and people in the community coming together with a shared passion to make a difference to people’s lives. It’s vital that we continue our work to help as many families as possible.”
This project builds on a wide range of charitable partnerships that Amazon supports. The company donates millions of products to more than 2,000 charities and volunteer organisations every year, like In Kind Direct.
In the 12 months preceding September 2022, Amazon facilitated the donations of more than 15 million products to charities across the UK through its Retail and Fresh operations, as well as Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) Donations, a programme which helps independent sellers using the Fulfilment by Amazon service donate their overstock or returned items automatically. The process is easy for sellers, from coordination to delivery, where Amazon uses its supply chain and operational expertise so that the right items get to the right charity partners to give more products a second life.
Amazon is committed to the communities where it operates across Scotland and the UK. Last summer, the company delivered around 40,000 healthy breakfasts to vulnerable children and schools across Scotland in a partnership with Magic Breakfast. Amazon recently granted more than £20,000 to local charities across Scotland, including the Edinburgh Cyrenians and Edinburgh Refugee Sponsorship Circle.
In 2021, the company contributed over £140 million in support for charities, healthcare organisations and our local communities across the UK. This year, the company is partnering with Comic Relief ahead of Red Nose Day, that will see the brand-new Red Nose, created by legendary designer Sir Jony Ive, available to buy on Amazon for the first time. Amazon has also donated £1.8 million as part of its support to Comic Relief.
Learn more about Amazon’s economic impact across the UK and within Scotland.