Smiley Van a ‘Big Help’

A charity which supports people in the local community by offering households goods and appliances at a manageable level of credit, has expanded its services with the use of a Smiley Van donated by the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The Big Help Project in Merseyside has a series of charity shops where the goods are available for people with limited credit options, either to purchase outright at a value-for-money price, or through affordable credit options which do not overstretch their finances.

It is now two years since the Big Help Project was awarded a Smiley Van from the Steve Morgan Foundation, at a cost of £17, 489, which helps the charity in a variety of areas.

“The support of the Steve Morgan Foundation has been an invaluable asset to the Big Help Project and has been essential to allowing us to assist the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Joseph Goulding, Governance Officer with the Big Help Project.

“Without the Steve Morgan Foundation, we would not have been able to expand our trading arm which subsidises the joined-up charitable services which we deliver.

“The Smiley Van has made a marked difference to our organisation.

“By being able to use the services of the Van, we have been able to ensure the longevity and feasibility of our ethical and affordable alternative to the Rent to Own market.

“Without the Van we simply would not be able to transport goods between our warehouse and charity shops, and instead would be relying on the use of our foodbank van.

“Furthermore the Steve Morgan Foundation Smiley Van has, in extenuating circumstances, allowed us to deliver donated items free of charge to individuals in need of furniture or large electrical goods.

“In certain circumstances we have been contacted by a support worker who is working with a vulnerable client escaping a domestic violence situation or other crisis.

“In emergency one-off circumstances, we have been able to provide these individuals with beds, cookers or fridges, free of charge, that would not have been possible without the Smiley Van kindly donated by the Steve Morgan Foundation.”

Examples of this additional use of the Smiley Van include being able to move the belongings of a tenant who had been a target of anti-social behaviour in his local area, and had been suffering from extreme anxiety and depression as a result.

With the Van helping to move belongings and furniture, the tenant has since reported that their mental health has dramatically improved and they feel safe and confident again.

A similar example came with helping a mother and her children when they had to flee their property due to domestic violence.

The Smiley Van was used to ensure the family had their essential property within their new accommodation in a very short space of time.

“The Smiley Van allows us additional flexibility to respond to fluid and emergency circumstances such as these without curtailing or diminishing existing service delivery,” added Joseph.

Click here to read the feature from our visit to the Big Help Project, shortly after the Smiley Van had been officially handed over.

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