Clearing out student accommodation reaps rich rewards for charity

A charity scheme that encourages students to donate their unwanted items at the end of term instead of throwing them away, has saved an incredible 39 tonnes of items from being thrown away in Leicester.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) ‘Pack for Good’ scheme ran for its second year this summer, collecting clothes, books, kitchen equipment, electronics and other unwanted items rather than see them thrown out when students leave rented accommodation for the summer.

Working closely with Leicester City Council to target the most walked routes between student houses and the city’s two universities, the charity placed seven red donation banks around the city from May until September. Donations collected have helped to create about £68,000 in sales for the local BHF charity shop.

Emma Cunnington, BHF university account executive, said: “These figures have outperformed our expectations, and the quality of donations coming through was brilliant. The local shop has been thrilled. We are so grateful to all the students who donated through this scheme. Every item sold will help us raise vital funds for life saving heart research.”

The scheme forms part of the work the city council does to support students in using the recycling services offered in the city. Flyers and posters are issued via letting agents and halls of residence when the students move into their properties. Moving out packs are then sent to students in houses towards the end of term with advice on leaving Leicester without leaving a mess.

This is the second year that the University of Leicester has supported the BHF Pack for Good Scheme. This year it was combined with our own ‘Waste Leics’ scheme for even greater effectiveness. Bedding collected from student accommodation went to animal shelters, food to food banks, and stationery to our Student Stationery Cupboard on campus.

Sandra Lee, University of Leicester Social Impact Lead, said: “Clearing student accommodation at the end of the year is a mammoth task and we start planning it in February! We were particularly proud of the way that staff, students, the City Council and charities coordinated to ensure that everything went really smoothly, students had convenient drop off points and all reusable items were quickly despatched where they were needed. This is a great cross-organisation piece of work that benefits the local community as well as the environment and we look forward to being even more ambitious this year.”