22nd May Update

As part of a new donation campaign, Amazon has teamed up with Unilever and Kimberly-Clark to deliver thousands of hygiene products to families experiencing poverty across the UK.

From today until 16th June, for every two items customers purchase on Amazon.co.uk from a selection of more than 500 personal hygiene products, Unilever and Kimberly-Clark will donate a third item to the Multibank initiative and In Kind Direct, ensuring even more goods get to those who need them the most.

At Amazon, we are committed to supporting the communities in which we operate. In 2022, Amazon co-founded the UK’s first Multibank in Fife, Scotland with former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown in response to the high levels of poverty and deprivation he had witnessed in his local area.

Surplus essentials will be donated to 40,000 families living in poverty.

Located near Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Dunfermline, where many customer returns are processed, the Multibank is a donations centre that connects surplus goods donated by Amazon and other businesses, with people in need, via a network of local charities and care professionals.

A second Multibank opened in Wigan in 2023, followed by a third in Swansea in 2024. Working together with charity partners, the network of Multibanks have donated more than 2 million surplus essentials to help more than 200,000 families experiencing poverty.

We are proud that the Multibank initiative was recognised with the Community Impact Award at the 2024 Business Charity Awards, and was also shortlisted in the Best Response to the Cost-of-Living-Crisis. Amazon and Barnardo’s JOBS project, which supports young people to develop the skills needed to secure work and develop their careers, was also shortlisted in the Product of the Year category.

But what exactly is a Multibank? How does it work, and how does it ensure that the right items get into the hands of those who need them most?

What is a Multibank?

Jay Blades visits Innovative 'Multibank' in Wigan | Red Nose Day 2024

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A Multibank is a clothes, bedding, baby and hygiene bank all rolled into one. The idea is simple: companies have surplus goods people need, while local charities and care professionals know the people who need them. Our Multibank network connects the two to reduce the effects of poverty while contributing to a more circular economy.

Amazon is helping to establish Multibanks in areas of deprivation across the UK and welcomes donations of surplus goods from businesses of all sizes nationwide. These include essential items, like warm clothes, bedding, hygiene products, and school uniforms, and items like crockery and household furnishings that help make a house a home.

How do Multibanks work?

A man packs boxes at a Multibank

Each Multibank is run by a lead charity partner who is embedded in their local community. Amazon helps partners set up the warehouse operations, providing logistical expertise, tech support, and five staff members from the nearby Amazon fulfilment centre who work on-site for the first year of operation.

Amazon developed a pioneering “click and collect” system which shares a weekly inventory of donations with thousands of community groups, social workers, teachers, and other care professionals so they can order the exact products they know are needed. This ensures no good product goes to waste, and that people experiencing poverty get the essential goods they need, when they need them.

Charlotte Hill, CEO of food redistribution charity The Felix Project explains how her organisation works with Amazon to rescue surplus food and donate it to Londoners in need.

Amazon also helps to transport the donations to community organisations every week through its pro-bono logistics programme, Amazon Local Good.

Where are Multibanks located?

The first Multibank, known as ‘The Big Hoose’, was launched in 2022 in Fife, Scotland, with charity The Cottage Family Centre. Since then, we have opened Brick by Brick in Greater Manchester, with Wigan and Leigh charity The Brick; and Cwtch Mawr — which means Big Hug — in South Wales, with Swansea charity Faith in Families.

An infographic showing the locations of Multibanks around the UK

By the end of 2024, we aim to have six Multibanks nationwide, supporting more than 500,000 families in need.

How are Multibanks impacting local communities?

The initiative offers a lifeline to those facing growing levels of poverty. From gifting new football boots or sports kit to children to providing new mums with maternity packs, Multibanks are having an impact on their local communities.

Pauline Buchan, Manager at The Cottage Family Centre, the lead charity partner for The Big Hoose in Scotland, explains how they are helping people in the local area: “When we began this project, we hoped to reach 13,000 families across Fife, but thanks to Amazon’s contribution we have far exceeded that target,” she said.

“We would never have believed this outcome was possible when we began. With over 1,000 practitioners from midwives to social workers, from charity workers to schools, Amazon’s support has enabled our community network to provide timely practical support for families.”

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.

Which organisations are involved?

In addition to products donated by Amazon, we have helped to grow the network of businesses donating items and contributing to a circular economy to more than 30 companies, including Morrisons, PepsiCo, Heinz, Tesco and Unilever.

In 2023, Comic Relief joined what Gordon Brown has called a ‘coalition of compassion’ to create a dedicated Multibank Fund in partnership with Amazon which will help finance the nationwide expansion. Multibanks also rely on financial support from family foundations and others.

Amazon is committed to work with businesses and charities of all sizes to meet the unique needs of communities all over the UK. We will continue to encourage more companies to donate their surplus goods to give unwanted products a new life and make a real difference to those impacted by poverty.

Read more about Amazon’s impact in communities across the UK.