2020 Impact Report

A note from our CEO

When I joined In Kind Direct in December, we had no idea what was on the horizon. Concern for loved ones and fear for the futureit has been disorientating for us all.  

In Kind Direct helps grassroots organisations to do more for less and gives businesses a way to help everyone live, learn and work safely. This short report details our response and impact during the first six months of the pandemic, from March to August 2020.   

This pandemic has not been a “great leveller”. We might all be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. Those who were struggling before are being disproportionately affected. 1 in 5 in the UK are living in poverty* and the voluntary sector is set to lose £12.4bn this year** 

I have been inspired by the resilience, compassion and creativity of our charity network. So many have adapted their services and are working incredibly hard under intense pressure.  

When you face a crisis, you know who your true friends are and it’s thanks to our friends – charities, companies and funders – that we have been able to dramatically scale up our response to huge increases in demand; providing essential products to keep people safe. I’d like to thank our Patrons – and especially the Garfield Weston Foundation for their incredible support.  

These six months have shown just how connected and dependent on each other we really are. In the coming months the impact of sustained lockdown measures will be felt by us all in different ways. At In Kind Direct, we are absolutely focussed on supporting communities through this challenging winter to stay safe, well and connected.   

I am hugely grateful to everyone who has worked with us during this challenging time. Please read on, and iyou’re inspired, we’d love to hear from you.      


Our impact

March - August 2020

people helped each week
charities supported

of savings for our charity partners
orders dispatched
charities joining our network

Do you remember...?

When no one could get any toilet roll?


Stock shortages in shops showed us all what it’s like to not know where your next toilet roll is coming from. For too many, worries abouaffording and accessing basics are  a daily concern. Over the last 15 months In Kind Direct has distributed 1.7m rolls of tissue with the support of donors like Andrex and Tork. That’s enough to help 57,000 families for a month (or to wrap around the world almost one and a half times!).  For organisations supporting people to shield or providing residential services, a consistent supply is vital.  

When delivery drivers became our heroes?


We estimate that 95% of our network have stayed open throughout the crisis. Over half have increased their use of our service. So we stepped up too, increasing our capacity with more warehousing, staff and deliveries at weekends to dispatch 60% more orders than the same time last year.  

When you felt safest staying at home?


For many, home has not been a safe place during lockdown. 31% of charities surveyed work with those fleeing domestic violence.71% said people’s well-being or mental health had declined during the pandemic. Products can help those who are alone or in desperate situations to feel valued and cared for. 


When we clapped for carers every week?


With frontline staff and volunteers recognised as key workers, community groups and foodbanks adapted to provide outreach support. 71% of our network helped people to self-isolate or shield safely and 62% have been providing essential carepacks. We also delivered “pick-me-up pallets” of essentials and treats direct to NHS workers, with Blue Light Card. 


How much better you felt after a haircut?


Everyone should have the chance to look and feel good about themselves. Almost half of the charitable organisations surveyed use products from In Kind Direct to help build self-esteem and increase wellbeing. 70% tell us products help people feel valued and cared for.

When the biggest recession in 11 years was declared?


The financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic has hit our charity network hard.  40% of our charity partners have not been eligible for government support schemes. 60% saw their income decrease as the same proportion saw demand for their service increase.

Everyone deserves life's essentials and no usable product should go to waste

Products distributed March - August

We are very aware that items like toilet roll, cleaning stuff, teabags and personal hygiene products were well received by our low - income families and older people who are shielding at home. We were very surprised by the feedback from our general public who said they felt cared for and connected, some said how touched they were that someone was thinking of them and one lady commented it "was a lovely surprise on what was a very dark day for me.
Carrosyl Community Association

Impact Survey: Key Findings

Providing access to life's essentials


 told us people have struggled to access essential products locally. Since March, almost two-thirds of our network have been distributing essential care packs of toiletries, household supplies, nappies and period products. However, 65% of charities are worried they may have to temporarily reduce or adapt their services due to their own financial challenges.

Helping our network do more


on average, charities support twice as many people each week by working with us. 60% say we help them access goods they couldn’t otherwise afford, and 31% say we help them engage people they otherwise could not. On average, we saved charities almost £3,000 each from March to August. 

Supporting those most affected


are enabling households to shield or self-isolate safely35% have kept children learning remotely, 40% work with BAME communities and 45% directly support older people. Since March, 76% of charities told us people have become more vulnerable than before the crisis. Over half of charities use products to help people feel part of their community. 

Helping communities prepare for what's next


will use products from us to keep people clean and safe. 61% are relying on In Kind Direct to reopen facilities safely. That means more cleaning, laundry and hygiene supplies. Looking ahead, the biggest concerns are supporting people to re-join society and the financial impact of job losses for many more households.  

Number of organisations currently registered with In Kind Direct by region

5,395 total

"We have shown people they are cared for... Some are lone parents and are totally alone - the weight of the world has been taken off....users shoulders through the care packages they have received and they feel they can cope, manage and most importantly actually 'matter' "
Cwmbran Centre for Young People
In Kind Direct really understand our needs They are a great help, a great organisation. During the Coronavirus Pandemic the availability of hygiene products has given great reassurance to the people we support.
North Staffordshire YMCA

Our corporate partners

During these unprecedented times, In Kind Direct is providing a critical lifeline for thousands of charities in all parts of the UK. Our partnership with them to provide access to everyday essential products – be that nappies, shampoo or cleaning products - has never been more important. Helping them, help the many, as we all respond and fight the spread of COVID-19, is one crucial way we’re helping communities stay safe at this time. We’re proud to be their partner in this.
Tom Moody, Vice President and General Manager, P&G Northern Europe

Over the last six months, consumer goods manufacturers and retailers have experienced unprecedented pressure on their supply chains and been faced with hugely difficult decisions.   

In Kind Direct’s corporate partners recognise the key role they can play in supporting communities made vulnerable by the pandemic.  

Product donations to In Kind Direct have increased fourfold against the same period in 2019.  As well as excess stock, many of our partners have given needed products from their core inventory. 

In addition, In Kind Direct has also partnered with leading brands - including AlwaysAndrexCarex, Huggies and Lifebuoy – on targeted campaigns to get products to where they are needed most.  

Why companies work with In Kind Direct

PZ Cussons works with In Kind Direct to donate hygiene and personal care products, including hand wash to thousands of charities across the UK. In Kind Direct are easy to work with, flexible and help us to meet our CSR objectives effectively and efficiently.
Michelle Plant, Senior Brand Manager, PZ Cussons

of corporate partners in our recent survey said that working with In Kind Direct helps to meet their corporate responsibility objectives to a significant extent.  

Priority objectives for companies include demonstrating ethical and responsible values to their various stakeholders (82% of respondents)enhancing their corporate image and reputation (76%) and building better relationships with local communities (71%). 94% of respondents also seek to reduce waste and their impact on the environment.     

Tackling hygiene poverty in local communities has always been a mission of Boots; working with organisations like In Kind Direct, alongside our partners and customers, means we can increase impact and, together, be an important part of the solution to hygiene poverty across the country. Working with In Kind Direct also helps us be a more responsible business with obsolete stock, reducing our environmental impact while increasing social impact.
Natalie Gourlay, Environment Manager, Boots

Looking ahead

Our pledge - building in kindness

We're reflecting on all we’ve learned through the crisis to focus our strategy for 2021 and beyond. We know that the coming months and beyond will bring new challenges and increased demand for essential products as more households manage tighter budgetsWe are committed to honouring three ways of workings in all that we do: 

Different places have different needs at different times. The crisis has disproportionately affected those that were already struggling. The charity sector is also facing huge challenges with depleted resources and increased demand. We will continue to put the expertise our charity partners at the heart of our thinking, to understand how we can maximise our impact in the most effective and efficient way. 

We will continue to work with like-minded organisations and build strong partnerships to make giving and accessing life's essential products easy. As part of the Product Giving Alliance and National Business Response Network we will build local resilience and inspire confidence that collectively we can help companies, charities and communities. Working together means everyone wins. 

As unemployment rises and the digital divide widens, no one is immune to needing a helping hand. The crisis has highlighted the importance of wellbeing and connectedness, areas where products can make a tangible difference. We will work with businesses as they develop their recovery plans, to embed product giving commitments and help build a stronger, more resilient  society. 


Get involved today

Join our network

Donate products

Donate funds

We would like to say a special thank you the Patrons and funders who have helped us to scale up our work during this time.

References and Research 

*Joseph Rowntree Foundation - www.jrf.org.uk/data 

**June 2020  www.cfg.org.uk/12bnshort 


This report is based on our July 2020 impact survey, which received 639 responses. It is supplemented by organisational metrics and qualitative material. For further information about our research, contact Charlotte Walshe, Partnerships and Impact Director at charlotte@inkinddirect.org.