DIY and homeware sellers are getting behind the homelessness charity Shelter, with IKEA pledging to help half a million people out of homelessness and B&Q raising £220,000 in a weekend as part of its push to raise £1m by January.
IKEA announced a new long-term partnership with housing and homelessness charity, Shelter, which will see the organisations advocating for half a million people impacted by the housing emergency to have a better life at home by 2030.
The partnership is launching amid a worsening housing crisis, with over a million households currently on social housing waiting lists and homelessness on the rise. There are over 112,000 homeless households living in temporary accommodation in the UK, with this number likely to increase still as the cost-of-living crisis spirals.
Over the course of the partnership, the two organisations hope to create systemic change to address the housing emergency in the UK, calling on the Government to build 90,000 social homes a year by 2030.
IKEA and Shelter will launch a series of initiatives to help those affected by the housing emergency in IKEA’s local communities and beyond, aiming to increase access to support and opportunities.
From early 2023, IKEA and Shelter will train co-workers to become ‘Life at Home Experts’, and help people in precarious housing situations to understand their rights and keep hold of their homes before they reach crisis point. This is the first time Shelter has trialled the ‘Life at Home Experts’ initiative with any partner, which will see co-workers trained by the charity to understand local and national housing issues and rights.
IKEA will also fund Housing Rights Workers, who will be based in Shelter advice hubs. The initiative aims to reach people who need housing help in their local communities. By working more closely in neighbourhoods and providing early intervention, IKEA and Shelter hope to stop more people from losing their homes.
The launch of the partnership will also see the beginning of a flagship three-year research project following the journeys of families living in social housing. The in-depth findings will be used to inform the most pressing focuses that are needed for the partnership, and to help call on the government to deliver systemic change.
Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA UK & Ireland, says: “At IKEA, we want to create a better everyday life for the many people. This ambition goes beyond just home furnishing: We want to have a positive impact on the world. Our partnership with Shelter will help us do that by providing support to the millions of people across the UK that do not currently have a place to call home.
“We’re in a national housing and cost-of-living crisis that’s hitting families and people suffering homelessness the hardest. That’s why it’s even more important for companies such as ours to take responsibility and contribute positively to the neighbourhoods we’re part of. Together with Shelter, our mission is to ensure that by 2030, half a million of those in need have access to a better life at home.”
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, adds: “Rising rents, poor quality homes and spiralling living costs are pushing even more people to the brink of homelessness, making our work at Shelter as critical as ever. Every day we help hundreds of people and families impacted by the housing emergency, but we can’t do it alone.”
“Through our new partnership with IKEA we hope to reach even more people with vital housing advice and support at a time when they need it most. By working together our frontline advisers and IKEA’s ‘Life at Home Experts’ will work tirelessly to help as many people as possible to find or keep hold of a safe home, and together we will campaign for lasting change.”
B&Q steps towards £1m
Meanwhile, B&Q stores nationwide took part in a charity fundraiser for Shelter last weekend, with customers, colleagues and B&Q donating a combined total of more than £220k to the charity, with the business aiming to raise one million pounds by January, the end of its financial year.
At the end of last year, 274,000 people were officially recorded as homeless in England, and B&Q’s annual fundraising weekends see B&Q stores across the country come together to support Shelter and the vital work they do in helping defend the right to a safe home.
B&Q colleagues took part in a variety of activities to raise awareness throughout the weekend, be it DIY Dancefloors or bake sales, bringing together customers and the local community in fundraising efforts, all in the spirit of this year’s ‘popstar’ theme.
On top of the nationwide efforts to raise money, B&Q’s Customer & Digital Director, Paddy Earnshaw, led fundraising efforts at the B&Q’s headquarters in Southampton with a mammoth 24-hour dance-a-thon, cheered on by his colleagues and Shelter representatives.
Earnshaw comments: “We are so proud of our colleagues’ and customers’ efforts to raise money for Shelter across the UK. We rallied the team at our Southampton HQ to take part in the danceathon and their moves have not gone unrewarded! It’s been great hearing the stories from teams across our stores too, all of them really getting into the spirit of the weekend. Shelter’s cause is near and dear to our hearts and this fundraising effort will get us closer to our £1 million target for the year – we look forward to supporting them in the years to come.”
Shelter’s Neate adds: “As the cost of living crisis rages, our work at Shelter is more important than ever as we help people to find or keep hold of a safe home. We couldn’t do this without the amazing support of everyone who helps to fundraise for us.
“We owe a huge thanks to B&Q, it’s staff and customers – including Paddy with his very impressive dancing stamina – for their incredible efforts. Through our partnership our team of DIY Skills Advisers are able to help thousands of people who’ve lived through homelessness or bad housing to create happy homes where they can thrive. And by working together we can continue to support more people and campaign for lasting for change.”
B&Q launched its partnership with Shelter in 2017 and since then, B&Q’s colleagues’ and customers’ donations have totalled more than £2.5million, entirely funding Shelter’s team of DIY Skills Advisers. B&Q donations also support Shelter’s all-important helpline services, providing advice and practical help to anyone struggling with bad housing or homelessness.
Shelter’s DIY Skills Advisers are helping thousands of people by ensuring they have the fundamental skills to build a future. The specialist teams work with communities in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Bristol to help make them feel happier and safer in their homes. They also run skills workshops across the country to bring communities together.