AS part of its commitment to creating social value, leading waste and recycling broker, UKWSL, has established a partnership with UK-registered charity Bags of Hope UK to improve the experiences of children and young people in the care system.
The partnership will see UKWSL work with their customers to provide unwanted or abandoned bags, suitcases and holdalls to children and young people so they can use them throughout their journey in the care system.
The first donation was made recently by one of UKWSL’s key customers, when a bumper collection of 33 suitcases and rucksacks were collected by Bags of Hope. These items will be given to young people in order to prevent moves where their belongings are transported in bin liners and shopping bags.
Bags of Hope UK recognises the difficulties that children and young people face throughout their time in care and want to help make this a better experience. There are currently 5,660 looked after children in Wales. Many will have experienced numerous placement moves, potentially resulting in separation from siblings, moving schools and disruptions to attachments and social networks.
One of the key issues that Bags of Hope UK wants to address is that often, children and young people are moved with their personal belongings stored and transported in bin liners and shopping carrier bags. This often happens as a result of limited resources, ongoing pressures for professionals and the nature of emergency transitions.
Children and young people say that this contributes to the stress and anxiety caused by moving as they fear that their possessions, which may remind them of life prior to foster care, may become lost or damaged. Bags of Hope say they are also told that this makes children and young people feel as though they are rubbish and that no-one cares.
Bags of Hope and UKWSL feel that this is completely unacceptable and that children, young people and their belongings should be treated with dignity and respect.
UKWSL’s head of external affairs Dave Gudgeon said: “We hope that the provision of these bags to children and young people in the care system will play a small part in helping to relieve the anxiety associated with moves. By getting these bags out of the waste system and reusing them in a positive way, we are hopefully helping to improve young lives.
“The partnership with Bags of Hope is a great demonstration of how we can work with our customers to create both social and environmental value from the materials we manage on their behalf.”
Bags Of Hope project coordinator Lisa Vranch said: “When we first started Bags of Hope in February 2017 to stop children and young people moving possessions in black bin liners who are displaced from families and living in foster care, we didn’t imagine that it would grow to provide cases to hundreds of children and young people. We are proud to be supported by UKWSL which means we are now able to give suitcases and bags to even more young people across the regions.
“This partnership will play a key role in our sustainability.”