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Sandwell Clothing Bank: introducing a power-ful partner to help a community cause

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We introduced our socially minded electrical contractors to a community clothing bank. The resulting partnership has warmed hearts – as well as a church hall in Bearwood.   

St. Mary’s Church in Bearwood works with Sandwell Churches Link to host Sandwell Clothing Bank. This community scheme receives and sorts surplus unsold items of clothing and shoes, then distributes them to people who need them the most.

Hosting the Sandwell Clothing Bank brought a new lease of life to the hall at St. Mary’s, which had previously been empty. It has plenty of space to help volunteers do their good work.

St Mary's Church hall before McCann work
Lots of potential: the hall at St. Mary’s Church in Bearwood, before the electrical work

However, as the first winter of the partnership approached, it became apparent that the unheated hall could not house clothes in a suitable way. There was a risk that the Sandwell Clothing Bank stock would be affected by cold and damp.

The project had received a donation towards the cost of greenhouse-style heaters. These would prevent the hall temperature from falling below dew point. However, the hall still needed two new radial circuits to run around the perimeter, and new sockets.

‘Community benefits that go on’

Our Business Growth Team had an idea. Sandwell Council has a strong social value agenda and, as a result, we nurture excellent relationships with suppliers who are keen to give back to our local communities.

So Karen Richards, our Community Benefits Coordinator, approached J McCann & Co Ltd, one of Sandwell Council’s street lighting contractors. She asked whether the McCann team could help.

Happily, they could. McCann agreed to install the required electrical infrastructure at no cost to St Mary’s. Electrical engineers Josh and Dean even gave up their free time on a Saturday to complete the work.

Nick Brownlow is a project manager for McCann. He said:  “We are always happy to help a good cause, wherever needed, and believe in supporting community benefits that go on supporting long after we move on from our works.” 

Karen said: “We are always grateful to our council contractors supporting the council’s social value ethos and bring added value to our communities. We want to thank McCann for their hard work in making this hub a safe warm environment for the Sandwell Clothing Bank to succeed.”

As well as bringing physical warmth for Sandwell Clothing Bank, McCann has given generously to other causes in Sandwell. The company has donated books and given voluntary hours to local primary schools, including through ‘when I grow up’ reading sessions. It also contributed to Sandwell Council’s Christmas gift appeal. We thank the team for their continued generosity.

Can your business help Sandwell Clothing Bank?

James Lynch from Sandwell Church Links said: “Sandwell Clothing Bank are seeking donations of much-needed brand new or good quality supplies of clothes and shoes. We would welcome a conversation with local clothing and shoes outlets, to explore ways in which they might be able to partner with the project.”

Our Sandwell Business Growth Team can put you in touch if needed.

From left to right in the main picture: Josh Beck from J McCann & Co Limited. James Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Sandwell Churches Link. Frank Herbert from St. Mary’s Church. Michael Wragg, Senior Social Value Officer at Sandwell Council. Dean Hodgkins from J McCann & Co Limited.

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