The response to our campaign to provide care-packs for survivors of human-trafficking has been phenomenal.
Our ‘Restoration Hub’ campaign ran throughout October to coincide with Anti-Slavery Day on October 18.
Our aim was to collect donations in order to create care packs for clients in our safe houses, whilst also making important connections with businesses in Sheffield.
The care packs will contain, amongst other things, toiletries, new clothing, bedding and chocolates, with the aim of making newly arrived clients feel secure and cared for.
With support from Sheffield Business Together and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, City Hearts appealed for local businesses and the public to get behind the campaign.
The city rose to the challenge, with staff from 15 businesses and organisations getting involved and public drop-off points stationed in Waitrose, Cubo, Meadowhall and Voluntary Action Sheffield.
Thanks to the generosity of the campaign’s supporters, City Hearts has collected more than 2,000 items, which will be given directly to survivors newly arrived at safe houses.
Jed Barr, Restoration Hub coordinator at City Hearts, said: “The Response from Sheffield businesses and community to our Anti-Slavery month campaign has been phenomenal. Our aim is to create a new Restoration Hub, where we will be able to store, pack and distribute care packs for survivors as soon as they arrive at City Hearts. Thanks to the generosity of the community, we have thousands of pounds worth of items. This will allow us to hit the ground running and provide high quality care packs for survivors.”
There are currently more than 136,000 people being exploited in modern slavery conditions across the UK. These include forced labour on construction or agricultural sites, nail bars, carwashes, cannabis farms and prostitution.
City Hearts currently supports more than 700 of these vulnerable people across our services, who often arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back.
City Hearts CEO Ed Newton, said: “I want to thank the people of Sheffield for their support. Sheffield is a city of recovery for hundreds of Modern Slavery survivors, the centre of our charity’s operations and a welcoming home to many of those we support.”
Louise Harrison-Walker of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, added: “We were delighted to support this campaign, which was coordinated by Sheffield Business Together, and very pleased at the generous response of Chamber members and fellow tenants at Cubo. Donating to the campaign is a small act, but it shows people who have been victims of human trafficking, that someone cares. A pamper box is a wonderful gesture at what must be a very traumatic time.”
As well as hygiene items and clothing, some business donated their own products to help improve the lives of survivors, such as cushions from Ikea, and new books from education resource business, Twinkl.
Tiffany Jackson of Twinkl, said: “We were really keen to show our support for City Hearts, as we really value and appreciate the work they do to support the vulnerable and exploited people in our community. At Twinkl, we believe that all children should have access to learning. We were really proud to donate 200 copies of our children’s book – Doris the Loris. Our team members also donated care items at various drop off points in the city. We hope the books and items will provide a sense of comfort and joy.”
Gohar Khan of the As-Salaam Humanitarian Foundation, which provides aid for those in need, was also keen to get involved, and donated £600 of new items to the hub, including duvets, pillows, bedding and towels.
Tariq Khan, of As-Salaam, said: “We are happy to work with other charitable organisations that have such similar objectives as us. It has been a pleasure working alongside City Hearts, and we endeavour to continue our working relationship.”
As well as businesses, the city’s students were also keen to help, with Longley Park Sixth Form College donating hundreds of items.
Bernadette Edge of Longley Park, said: “We were happy to support such a worthwhile cause. When I read the case study of a survivor of the City Hearts poster, it made me think about how much we all have, and could donate. In an organisation such as Longley, we are all passionate about helping people. The students could not believe this type of thing actually happens in the UK.”
An Ikea spokesperson, added: “Upon hearing about the City Hearts vital appeal, we felt it was a great opportunity to raise awareness of the important work they do to support survivors of modern slavery, and wanted to help their work in some way.
Co-workers at IKEA Sheffield donated items including toiletries and toys that will be put into care packages and given to survivors across the UK.”
Phil Clayton of City Hearts, said: “It has been incredible working with so many dedicated businesses in Sheffield. Their generosity and compassion will bring hope and restore dignity to survivors of modern slavery. Every donation will change lives. Big thanks to Carolynn McConnell of Sheffield Business Together who has worked tirelessly, while on secondment to Business in the Community, to recruit and engage businesses to support us. We have been so thankful to all our partners for their engagement, and hope to continue working with business, and the community as we help survivors on their path to freedom.”