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Social Accounts 2021

When we set Green Heart Collective up, we created it with a mission to save 100 tonnes of waste from going to landfill over the first two years of its operations. However, as we worked through our first year, it became less about weight and more about where we could add value locally in keeping particular items from landfill or incineration.
Our focus now is on clothing, fitness equipment, books, gift items and homeware. We have found great local partners who we can work with on better handling other items. If you'd like to donate an item you no longer need, you can see our guidelines here.

Sustainability/Financial Indicators

  • Target was to break even - on a turnover over £79k we made £263 profit
  • Target was to be self-sustaining with no loans, grants or donations - apart from small directors' loans to get the business started, no loans, grants or donations have been used

Mission indicators

  • Enable people to buy preloved items on eBay, Depop, Vinted, in person and on our website - a total of 1710 orders during the first year!
    • Ebay 630 orders
    • Depop 130 orders
    • Website 150 orders
    • Vinted 100 orders
    • Shop 700+ purchases
      • Keep the impact of our operations to a minimum
        • All packaging used for customer orders apart from parcel tape was from post consumer waste collection
        • Switched to green electricity and gas usage in April 2021
        • Serve fair trade and/or organic products for staff and visitors
      • Work with businesses to help divert unsaleable products away from landfill
        • We work with a yoga company, a high street fashion brand and two urban fashion companies on finding a market for their waste and avoiding it going to landfill
      • Interviews and blogs written to signpost and to educate readers
        • We published 40 blogs and news stories about recycling and the climate emergency
        • 4,100 people interacted with one or more news story or blog and over 8,000 people visited the website
      • Raising awareness on social media
        • Our Facebook posts were seen 143k times
        • Twitter grew from 0 to 350 followers, Facebook from 150 to 705, Instagram 100 to 420
        • Our email newsletter subscribers grew from 0 to 249
      • Organise events around our goal of diverting waste from landfill
        • Crafting events enabling people to create new items from waste
        • Organised Gateshead Great Big Green week with a clothes swap, school assembly and a evening of reflection on Christian basis for averting climate chaos
      • Engaged with those who have influence of local decision making
        • Met with Liz Twist MP, Cllr Catherine Donovan (Deputy leader of Gateshead Council), Cllr Judith Turner, Cllr Helen Haran and Cllr Eileen McMaster to look at ways in which we way help reduce waste to landfill.
      • Support local climate activism
        • Supported a march from Gateshead to Newcastle to link with regional COP26 March including running a banner making workshop
        • Ran workshops and supported the creation of fabric panels for the Stitches for Survival banner at COP26
        • Supported student activists in banner making to fight the anti-free speech elements of the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill.
      • Work with local organisations to reduce waste to landfill
        • Worked with several schools on providing free T shirts for art projects and dance shows
        • Worked with Brighton Ave Primary School on a range of activities across the year
        • Supported local professional dance companies with costumes and props
        • Worked with Changing Lives to directly support the homeless with additional clothing
      • Support other social enterprises and charities by using or supporting their services
        • Worked with Handcrafted, a local charity working with ex-offenders, to construct our office space and create walls for our factory shop space
        • Supported Orange Box and Foundations Furniture with donations of furniture

      • Raising our profile in the media
        • Two local television news interviews were recorded at our warehouse with the founders
        • Got media coverage in Team Valley Business news, Yogamatters blog and Gateshead carers newsletter.

Employment indicators

      • Pay Gateshead Living wage - during 2021, we paid £9.50 an hour in line with advice from the Living Wage Foundation for the Gateshead
      • Everyone gets paid the same rate - we have no divisive salary structure
      • Who we are - staff and volunteers
        • We grew from 2 FTEs to 4 FTEs by the end of the year with 5 people on the pay roll by the end of the year.
        • We had several volunteers during the year including someone volunteering as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s award

Case Study

A good example of how we can work hand in hand with local charities is how we have worked with Care4Calais. Some of the items they receive are unsuitable for those they are supporting. We have been able use or pass on those clothes, and then donate back to them things that are more suitable. We have also been able to provide suitcases to allow recently arrived asylum seekers to keep belongings securely until more permanent accommodation is available. The clothes swap we ran in September raised over £100 for Care4Calais’ work.

Key strategic messages for 2022

      • Stop buying new - Buy preloved
      • Stop throwing things away - Find a new home for your item
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