Impact Report 2021 | In Kind Direct

A note from our CEO

September 2021

When we released the first edition of this report last year there was a feeling that the worst was over. Little did we know that another year on, Covid-19 would still be dominating our professional and personal lives.

This short report provides an update on what In Kind Direct has achieved with our charity network, corporate partners and supporters since the pandemic started in March 2020.

Over the last year and a half, we have seen the very best of our sector. It’s no exaggeration to say that it is thanks to the resilience, compassion and creativity of our charitable network that the impact of the pandemic has not been worse. I’m proud that we have been able to play our part; dramatically scaling up our service to provide more essential products to keep people safe and well.

But there’s no doubt huge challenges remain. The impact of Covid-19 has been disproportionately felt by low-income families and those who were struggling and vulnerable before the crisis. Small charities face an uphill struggle to fund and resource their under-pressure services. The toll on “Generation COVID” in mental health issues, education loss and financial challenges is only starting to become apparent.

At In Kind Direct we believe that everyone deserves access to life’s essentials and that no useable product should go to waste. We are determined to play our part in supporting the national recovery. With generous pro bono support from OC&C Strategy Consultants, we have put in place an ambitious strategy to triple our impact over the next four years. This will mean more lives improved, more charities saving money and reduced environmental impact.

I  am hugely grateful to everyone who has worked with us during this challenging time. That includes our corporate partners who have given so generously. I’d also like to extend particular thanks to our Patrons for their continued willingness to invest in our organisation’s long-term development and success.

Please read on, and if you’re inspired, we’d love you to join us in whatever way you can.


Our impact

March 20 - August 2021

People helped each week
Charities supported

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.

When Christmas plans had to change last minute?


As restrictions on being with loved ones and financial uncertainty took their toll, the emphasis on maintaining traditions, building memories and finding new ways of togetherness last Christmas had an even greater significance. In Kind Direct’s Christmas with Kindness campaign highlighted the essential products that really were most needed as gifts across the country.

When schools re-opened?

There are a growing number of schools registered to use In Kind Direct’s service to support vulnerable pupils and families.  Schools like St Michael’s Pre- School created hundreds of care packs which included toilet roll, cleaning supplies, hygiene products and learning resources.

When community centres and most indoor venues could reopen?

In our most recent survey, 57% of respondents said products from In Kind Direct had helped them to keep their facilities open and safe.

When you could visit friends inside homes again? 

85% of charitable organisations said that seeing friends and family face to face was what the people they support were most looking forward to as restrictions eased.  51% said taking part in wellbeing activities such as support groups and 43% said school/education returning to near normal.

July 2021 – When most remaining restrictions were lifted?   


The lifting of legal restrictions put the onus on individuals to make decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and others. Over the summer, In Kind Direct worked closely with our partners to help ensure charitable organisations had access to hygiene and protection products such as face masks so they could continue to open services safely.  



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

Products distributed March 2020 - August 2021

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

2021: From our April Impact Survey


of the network reported that the demand for their services has increased (up from 68% from our previous survey)


of organisations will be focussing on keeping people clean, safe and well.


of our organisations said products help people feel valued and cared for

Over two thirds of our organisations said our products help people feel cared for and valued, improve mental health and address poverty


of organisations responding are supporting children and young people/families

71% are supporting low income households

61% of respondents also said they were supporting people with mental health problems

Number of organisations receiving products March 20 - Aug 21

3,700 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 fifteen 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.  

Partnership Case Study: In Kind Direct & Primark

In Spring 2021, In Kind Direct and Primark collaborated to distribute over 23,000 children’s coats to disadvantaged communities across the UK. 180 charitable organisations received coats to distribute. Glasgow The Caring City distributed over 7,000 coats to children across Scotland as part of the partnership.

The campaign received significant national and retail press coverage as well as extensive engagement on social media.

The families that [we] support often struggle to buy a new coat for their children and often rely on hand me downs. Having a new winter coat for their children will take away the worry and stigma of how they are going to afford to buy one, as well as enabling their children to feel warm and appropriately dressed whilst walking to nursery or school or playing outside.
Home-Start Dover District

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


#commUNITY began at the beginning of 2021 as our urgent lockdown response to address the immediate needs of our network of thousands of charitable organisations, and to ensure a continuous supply of essential products. In April, to coincide with the first phase of restrictions easing in the UK, we moved into our next step in our #commUNITY campaign - supporting community centres and hubs as they looked to re-open and continue their vital services. Our most recent phase launched on the 19th of July, where we partnered with Save The Children to help give children the #SummerOfPlay they deserve after 18 months of restrictions.

Each phase of our #commUNITY campaign has been supported with product donations from our incredible corporate partners. Bringing them together with our charity network creates real impact and builds stories of hope, care and kindness and with their help, we are able to continue supporting almost 250,000 people each week.

Barclays 100 x 100 Community Relief Programme

We were delighted to have been chosen as one of the 100 UK Charities to receive a donation of £100,000 from the Barclays 100 x 100 UK Covid-19 Community Relief Programme, which became integrated with our #commUNITY campaign.

The grant from Barclays has enabled us to distribute at least £500,000 in value of urgently needed consumer products to 2,500 households experiencing real, material deprivation caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

We were thrilled to receive a £200 credit which could not have come at a better time. Funding has recently finished and whilst we have submitted further funding applications in the hope that we can continue helping as many people city wide as possible with good quality food & hygiene products, there inevitably will be an interim period of having no accessible funds to help meet the current need. On behalf of all of us here at South Central Community Transport, and our beneficiaries, sincere and heartfelt thanks.
South Central Community Transport

Get Involved

Join our network

We are here to help you and your community. Charitable organisations can join for free.

Donate products

Donate products and we'll get them to where they are needed. View the list of essentials here.

Donate funds

Help us keep distributing essential supplies across the UK to those who need them.

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 

This report is based on data drawn from various sources including our regular quarterly “pulse” surveys of our charity network partners. The July 2020 survey received 639 responses, the Q1 2021 survey received 865 responses and the Q2 2021 survey received 748 responses.  It is supplemented by metrics drawn from our ERP software and qualitative material from case studies and interviews.  For further information about our research please contact our Charity Network Manager


All details correct at the time of publication – September 2021