University students in Bristol have raised £1.4m by donating almost 97,000 bags of donations over the last nine academic years as part of the Bristol Big Give. The donated items, which surprisingly have included items such as Prada bags and Jimmy Choo shoes, have been gathered from halls, private student accommodation and dozens of temporary collection banks belonging to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
The campaign raises money for local charities and nine years ago teamed up with the BHF at the same time naming it the Bristol Big Give in 2013. Since then, students have donated more than 900 tonnes of goods - an average of 100 tonnes a year – worth a total of £1,357,846.
Paul Roberts, Head of Environment and Sustainability at UWE Bristol, said: “We are immensely proud of our students for their involvement in the Bristol Big Give. The campaign has gone from strength to strength and is a great example of students’ positive impact on the city.
“UWE Bristol has a strong commitment to climate action and sustainability – reducing waste like this helps keep materials from landfill or incineration, as well as providing much needed funding for research into heart disease. It also helps reduce climate-heating greenhouse gas emissions.”
Tim Reeves, University Account Executive for the British Heart Foundation in the South West and Northern Ireland, said: “Our relationship with the Bristol Big Give as a charity over the nine years we have been part of it has been a hugely productive one for all partners involved.
“We are very proud to stand with our colleagues in Bristol and be part of something that raises vital funds, reuses much loved items, saves tonnes of items going to landfill and offers many opportunities for volunteering, as well as helping promote a wonderful community spirit.”
Heart and circulatory diseases cause around a quarter of all deaths in the UK, or some 460 deaths every day. The BHF sets up donation points in residential areas and across both university campuses. Some are temporary and some stay in place throughout the six months of the campaign. The donations are then collected and sold through the BHF’s shops, raising money for vital, life-saving research.
The campaign is led by students with the help of University staff. Sophie Henley, a University of Bristol student interning with the sustainability team, said: “Helping to lead the Bristol Big Give this year has been really inspiring.
“It’s great to see how many students are keen to get involved by donating their unwanted items - doing what's best for the environment and raising money for an amazing cause!”
Students moving out of their accommodation donate everything from unwanted clothes and furniture to sporting equipment and non-perishable food.
Dr Erik Lithander, the University of Bristol’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, said: “The Bristol Big Give is a great example of the whole city pulling in one direction – cutting waste and benefitting dozens of charities, not least the BHF.
“We know our students are always looking for ways to help out - last year 10,000 University of Bristol students did some kind of voluntary work.”
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