Giving World Online goes nationwide with University of Leicester expertise

Posted by fi17 at Nov 28, 2011 03:22 PM |
More jobs, a rise in donations, less landfill and fewer people in need

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office, 18 November 2011

Leicester-based social enterprise Giving World Online is ready to expand its operations across the UK, bringing relief to thousands more vulnerable and disadvantaged communities thanks to technical expertise, advice and contacts provided by the University of Leicester. 

Over the next six months, the re-cycling and distribution of unwanted surplus company stock to charities and community groups will roll out across the East Midlands, West Midlands and the Greater London area as a direct result of the University’s marketing and computing expertise. The innovative organisation has also created three new jobs having won Lottery funding to develop its work; in addition a University contact recently led to the donation of 244 pallets of domestic cleaning products which might otherwise have gone to landfill. Several other collaborative projects are already under discussion. 

Giving World, founded in 2001, and now with a strong online presence, initially contacted the University in 2010 for technical marketing advice and support. The founders, sisters Rama and Sujata Bhalla, wanted to conduct a market survey across a range of businesses to better understand their processes and particular needs when disposing of unwanted items. With funding support from the Innovation Partnerships project at the University of Leicester, Giving World developed a market research plan with experts in the School of Management and their staff member on a six-month project.  Extensive field research supervised by Dr Matthew Higgins led to the implementation of a practical marketing plan, the employment of a business development officer and a growth in business engagement with the winning of the Lottery funds. 

A second Innovation Partnerships project to develop, test and implement a SugarCRM system has recently been completed thanks to the hands-on support of the University’s Department of Computer Science.  Re-engineering the old databases to be able to handle the growing level of connections between the organisation, businesses, charities, sponsors and individuals was crucial to the plans to go national. University lecturer Dr Tom Ridge's extensive hands-on work involved the full range of IT skills, including requirements elicitation and analysis, system design, project management, data migration, low-level implementation work, and perhaps most significantly extending the knowledge and skills of the existing IT staff. 

Rama Bhalla is passionate about helping vulnerable people and saving the planet at the same time: “We measure our success by the number of people benefitting from receipt of items, the volume of items saved from going to landfill and the increase in the value of goods we receive. Had we not involved the University of Leicester in this way we would not be in the current position, achieving a significant impact on all these goals.” 

As the relationship between the University and Giving World has developed so have the opportunities for further support. An introduction by the Innovation Partnerships team to Northampton-based Pluswipes led to a further connection and the recent redirection of 244 pallets - 130 tonnes - of cleaning products and sterile wipes from landfill to UK-wide charities. Twenty organisations working with the homeless, orphans and vulnerable women, will put nearly 124,000 items to good use. 

Anjuu Trevedi, Innovation Partnerships project lead at the University of Leicester, said: “Our aim is to promote resource efficiencies in companies and working with Giving World is a perfect example of how this can be achieved.  I am very pleased to see our technical expertise and know-how used in such practical ways, benefiting and making a real difference to Giving World, its service users and our planet. This is just the beginning as we see more and more opportunities to successfully collaborate; therefore we are looking forward to the relationship between the University and the social enterprise sector continuing and growing.” 

Professor Kevin Schurer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Leicester said: “The University is very pleased and excited about this project. Not only does it provide a first rate example of what can be achieved by the Higher Education, commercial and third sectors working together, but also articulates one of the University’s core values in working to a more sustainable future” 

Innovation Partnerships is a University of Leicester scheme, part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, to offer up to 100% funded support to SMEs in the East Midlands to tackle some of the major resource efficiency challenges of today such as reducing energy and materials consumption, using sustainable materials and energy sources to optimise their carbon footprint. 

The Big Lottery Fund distributes half of the National Lottery good cause funding across the UK.

The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need.

 

 

***END***

 

Issued by Louise Third

Integra Communications

0115 912 4350

louise@integracommunications.co.uk

 

Ather Mirza – University of Leicester

Tel: +44 (0) 116 252 2415

Email:  pressoffice@le.ac.uk          

Fax:  +44 (0) 116 252 2485

Out of Hours Mobile: 07711 927821

 

University of Leicester Expertise:

http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/research-expertise

 

 

Notes to Editors: Further details are available from Rama Bhalla, Founder, Giving World Online on 0116 251 3941

More information on the University of Leicester Enterprise and Business Development Office is available from Ms Anjuu Trevedi, Head of Regional Business Engagement, tel 0116 252 3354, email Anjuu.trevedi@leciester.ac.uk.

 

More information on Innovation Partnerships, ERDF funded project can be found at www.le.ac.uk/innovationpartnerships

 

 

About ERDF nationally

The ERDF Programme aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by supporting regional economic development.

The ERDF objectives for England are:

  • Promoting innovation and knowledge transfer
  • Stimulating enterprise and supporting successful business
  • Ensuring sustainable development, production and consumption
  • Building sustainable communities
  • Improving accessibility and connectivity (for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly only – as part of their Convergence Programme).

A Programme Monitoring Committee consisting of regional stakeholders such as Government Offices, RDAs, Regional Assemblies, Local Authorities, Sub-regional Partnerships, Higher Education Institutions, Trade Unions, and the private and voluntary sectors will monitor and oversee programme implementation in each region.

For more information on ERDF funding generally, please visit www.communities.gov.uk/citiesandregions/european or http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/funds/feder/index_en.htm

About ERDF in the East Midlands

The East Midlands is eligible for €268.5m between 2007 and 2013, which when combined with match funding, provides a programme value of approximately €537m – a significant investment in the economic development of the region.

The East Midlands qualifies as a competitiveness and employment region under the EU’s Cohesion Policy, which aims to meet the EU Lisbon objective to become ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social inclusion.’

East Midlands Development Agency (emda) is responsible for the programme management and delivery of the region’s 2007-13 ERDF Competitiveness Programme. The responsibility for ERDF programme management was transferred from the Government Office for the East Midlands (GOEM) to emda following a decision by the UK Government to seek greater alignment between ERDF and regional strategies and funding streams. The 2007-13 ERDF Programme is therefore set firmly within the framework of the Regional Economic Strategy.

A Programme Monitoring Committee, chaired by the Regional Director of Government Office for the East Midlands (GOEM), guides the strategic direction of the programme and works closely with emda.

To find out more about ERDF, the region’s strategy for delivering the funds, how to apply for funding and how the programme is managed, please visit www.eastmidlandserdf.org.uk

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