Event manager, Darren Jordan has started a Centre wide initiative to support the work of The Jarrett Foundation:
Last year, I noticed that one of our clients had quite a few conference bags left at the end of their event. It’s actually a very common problem in this industry; organisers often have to produce more bags than they need because long lead times can mean that orders have to be placed before final delegate numbers are confirmed, and sadly many delegates discard their bags at the end of the conference. But what can they do with the ones that are left over? More often than not, they are branded with the conference name, date and sponsors’ logos so they can’t be kept for the next conference. Unfortunately they end up going to landfill.
We have keen recycling and waste targets at QEII Centre so I was determined to do something about it.
I contacted the client and they were one step ahead of me – they planned to donate their bags to a charity called The Jarrett Foundation. I was introduced to Pearl Jarrett their CEO by email and then I actually bumped into her in our loading bay as she was collecting the bags! We chatted and she told me about the foundation and what they do. The Jarrett Foundation is committed to impacting the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the areas of education & health, locally and around the world. This is primarily achieved by working in conjunction with primary schools and businesses to send unwanted furniture and educational resources to second and third world countries, so the children there have a better chance of an education and a future. They collect surplus promotional stock, such as conference/laptop bags, pencils, pens, notebooks, etc. It’s a win-win situation – they find good homes for these items and companies are saved the cost of sending them to landfill.
I decided to champion a Centre wide initiative with her foundation. We are now working with all of our clients to ensure that any of their left over bags, pens, notepads etc are donated to this amazing charity. Once we have a client’s permission, we store the bags and Pearl picks them up from us. The initiative has only been going a month, but I think we have already given a few hundred bags to them. Pearl will be sending us a photo showing exactly how each company’s bags are being used and we will pass these pictures onto the individual client so they can see too.
We are the first venue in the UK to strike a partnership with The Jarrett Foundation, but I would urge other venues to do the same. It’s a brilliant way to ensure that these bags are used by people that really need them, and it also saves tonnes of waste going to landfill each year.