The availability of advertising space on trailers and the ability to carry essential goods puts the logistics industry in a unique position to help the charity sector.
For many years, transport companies have taken part in activities designed to benefit local or national charities for causes important to employees and their families.
The Covid crisis has restricted the ability of some organisations to stage fundraising events and highlighted how vital the generosity of the industry is to charities.
Nantwich firm Boughey Distribution is one such company, helping to produce.5 million meals in just two years for food distribution charity FareShare, which provides meals for vulnerable people.
The haulier’s customers donate food made surplus by forecasting issues, mislabelling or due to promotional items not selling as well as expected, which Boughey then transports to FareShare’s 30 depots. It does so free-of-charge for journeys up to 30 miles and at a small charge for deliveries over 30 miles.
The transport company has also created a branded trailer which promotes its partnership with the charity.
Neil Trotter, Transport Operations Director at Boughey, said: “We currently have around 25% of our customers contributing surplus food and during 2022, we are planning to significantly increase the number of those on-board.
“The FareShare partnership provides our customers with a great option to use surplus food in a very positive way, both in terms of preventing waste going to landfill and using their products to address hunger in this country.”
FareShare has experienced significant growth during the pandemic, with a vast number of people across the country needing extra support with food provision.
The haulier has set up an easy process for the distribution of surplus products to the charity so that it has minimum impact on its day-to-day operations.
“Our sophisticated stock control system also means we can alert customers when food they hold with us is getting close to its best before date”, Trotter said.
“Customers can also potentially benefit financially by avoiding charges relating to the return of products, collection costs for food bins, landfill tax and labour to remove packaging.”
Maritime is also one of several transport-related companies that make up the Port Community Fund, an initiative dedicated to supporting charitable and community organisations around Felixstowe.
Also, for several years, the company has committed to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, adorning its entire fleet of trucks with poppies.
John Williams, Group Executive Chairman of Maritime Transport, said: “Charitable giving is an essential part of our company culture, and we are passionate about supporting a large number of local, regional, and national charities.
“We are also proud to support the initiatives our drivers and staff undertake for personal causes, from skydives to marathons, and always intend to give them a great kick-start to their fundraising.
“These causes are very worthwhile and extremely important to our staff.”
Meanwhile, Cumbrian civil engineering and specialist plant hire firm Waitings regularly donates a proportion of the earnings of its pink JCB JS220 excavator, which is pulled by its new Scania 650 S, to several UK cancer charities.
Adrian Ash, Director of Operations at Waitlings, said: “The idea of a fund-raising excavator came to us around five years ago.
“We wanted to give something back to the community and this seemed like an ideal opportunity.
“In addition to its regular work, the excavator has appeared at a number of shows and events, and to date has raised in excess of £20,000 – that’s something of which we are immensely proud.”
At the end of 2021, Llanelli-based Owens Group UK donated £1,000 to Wales Air Ambulance, following a similar donation the previous year.
The haulage group also re-painted a trailer in green, red and white with the aim of promoting the hard work of the charity.
Now operational 24/7, Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £8m every year to keep its helicopters flying.
Sian Lloyd, of Owens Group UK, said: “Given that the Wales Air Ambulance’s base is a stone throw from one of our depots in Dafen, Llanelli, we very often witness the air ambulance in flight and can only imagine the scenes that they face daily.
“As an integral piece of kit in helping save lives, supporting the Wales Air Ambulance is of the uttermost importance to us as a group to help the charity in some way to continue to deliver immediate critical care to patients across Wales.”
Over the years, Volvo dealer Thomas Hardie Commercials has held a charity day to raise money for its favoured charity, the Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley.
Because Covid restrictions have made organising such events more difficult, the company decided to use its new demonstrator to help raise money and awareness for the hospice, which provides respite and end-of-life care to more than 400 children and young people from across North West England.
Every customer that takes the FH demonstrator is invited to make a voluntary donation towards the campaign, with the dealer planning to raise at least £5,000.
It includes a ‘text to donate’ number to encourage contributions while the vehicle is out on the road and at industry events.
Steve Wilson, New Vehicle Sales and Marketing Director for Thomas Hardie Commercials, said: “We’ve been supporters of Derian House for over 25 years, and it is a cause that is close to the hearts of many people in the area.
“Our aim is to generate as much exposure for Derian House as possible. Like many charities, donations have reduced over the past year, and we wanted to do everything we could to help.”
One thing is for sure, the power of the road transport industry to be a force for good in the community and improve the lives of people should never be underestimated.