Waitrose Community Matters Scheme
Information accurate April 2013
What is it all about?
Waitrose has nearly 300 branches in the UK, mostly in the South but they are expanding. Each branch runs the Community Matters scheme, where customers are invited to put a green token when they shop into a box to support one of three local charities, chosen monthly. The sum of £1000 (supermarkets) or £500 (convenience stores) is shared between the charities according to the percentage of tokens given by shoppers.
What's in it for Freegle?
Your group could be one of those charities! You could have some money for publicity, for business cards, advertising or to run events - all with very little effort.
How do you apply?
At the service desk in each participating store, there are A5 leaflets to nominate a charity. I nominated Lewes Freegle and asked about 20/30 of our keen Freeglers to submit the form, which is simple - just one side of A5. I encouraged people to write what they liked about Freegle, how they had been helped, and gave them key facts, eg membership numbers, how long we have been going and how much we keep from landfill each month.
The form asks for contact details, and it is important that one persons information is on all the forms, so that Waitrose has a single point of contact. On my form, I said we'd like to spend money locally on publicity and to arrange some events. My form basically contained all the details they then used on their information sheets to help people to decide.
I deliberately didn't put an admin to the whole group as I was concerned that Waitrose would be swamped with applications, and I didn't write a text for people to use, as I didn't want it to appear too orchestrated.
The text I used:
Lewes Freegle is an online reuse group with 3,500 members. Each month at least 4,500 kilograms of stuff is kept out of landfill locally by Freeglers. We aim to keep anything reusable out of the waste stream by providing an online friendly local group to connect unwanted things with people who can re-use them. It builds community spirit and the reduction in waste contributes to the sustainability of the neighbourhood. Freegle is free to use but not free to run. We have to pay towards providing the site, we want to publicise it more effectively and we want to run a couple of local events which we call Give and Take mornings, to enable more people to find out about us. We are the modern take on "waste not, want not" and believe we offer an important service for the community.
What happens next?
Less than a month after I started the campaign, Waitrose rang me for more information, and it was made clear that this money was for our local group and not for the national organisation.
They agreed Lewes Freegle would be one of their charities for March, said they would contact me in early April to let me know how much had been raised and that the cheque would follow 6/8 weeks later.
During March, we put out a couple of admins to group members to let them know about it and we also put it on our Facebook page. Waitrose rang on 1st April and have told me we will get £316 and they will phone again when the cheque is ready for collection.
Another side benefit has been that we have had two of their information sheets in store giving us good local publicity in a prime spot in the town for a month!
What have you got to lose? Nothing.
What might your group gain? A decent share of £1000! It was painless and I would encourage any groups with a Waitrose in their area to apply.