Students raise nearly £100k for British Heart Foundation

Pack-for-good-graphicThis year’s ‘Pack for Good’ campaign, previously known as the ‘Moving Out’ campaign, has seen the donation of 56,336kg of unwanted items, which is expected to raise an impressive £99,288 for the British Heart Foundation.

The campaign, which has been running in Oxford since 2012, involves partnerships with Oxford City Council, Oxford Brookes University and the Oxford University colleges. The initiative encourages students to donate their unwanted clothes, shoes, electrical items, books, DVDs, CDs and other items when they leave the city, rather than dumping them at landfill sites. Red donation bins were installed around the city toward the end of Trinity term, and donated items are used to replenish British Heart Foundation charity shops in Oxford.

Julie Paffett, BHF regional stock generator, said: “We’ve been delighted with the response from students across Universities in Oxford and their overwhelming support. Each BHF shop needs to receive 400 bags of unwanted items a week and thanks to generous donations from the students and staff we have been able to help our shops in Oxford.” The charity raises money to fund research into coronary heart disease, which is currently the leading cause of death in the UK.

This year, 3,963 bags of unwanted items were donated at street banks around the city, 1,730 bags were donated at Oxford Brookes University and 1,353 bags were donated by the colleges of Oxford University. This shows a marked improvement since 2012, when just 1,932 bags were donated overall. Each bag of donated goods is estimated to raise £14 for the charity.

Specific efforts by the University of Oxford helped to achieve the higher number of donations this year, with OUSU promoting the campaign at the Student Union, but also through social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, Castle Mill graduate accommodation services supported the campaign by setting up regular collections from May to September. This lead to the donation of a further 296 bags. A furniture donation from Wadham college is expected to raise £700.

The initiative also has positive environmental impacts. Councillor John Tanner, board member for ‘A Cleaner, Greener Oxford’, told The Oxford Student: “It’s hugely important to reduce, re-use and recycle instead of just throwing stuff away for incineration. The beauty of the [‘Pack for Good’ campaign] is that it helps the planet, saves the taxpayer money and benefits the British Heart Foundation.” The BHF Evaluation and Impact Report for the 2015 campaign estimates that as a result of donating these unwanted items, rather than taking them to landfill sites, students and residents of the city will have reduced greenhouse gases by net 573,331kg (CO2 equivalent).

The scheme is hoped to continue successfully in the future. Emily Silcock, Vice-President (Charities and Community) of OUSU told The Oxford Student: “OUSU are hugely proud to have worked with the British Heart Foundation over the last few years, to collect leftover items for them to sell in their shops. Heart Disease is the biggest killer in the UK, so to be able to support this charity, whilst at the same time reducing carbon emission is fantastic. Last year we collected 43% more than the year before.”

“We’re hoping to increase that even further this year, by running collections at the end of every term. Look out for the red boxes in your college in 8th week.”

Image: British Heart Foundation