Building partnerships through sharing unwanted 'stuff'

In this guest blog, Daniel O’Connor from WarpIT talks about his service (which is free for voluntary organisations) that allows them to take advantage of unwanted furniture, resources or kit for their offices.
 
The partnership WarpIT formed with Sunderland City Council was awarded the Compact Innovation Award at the 2013 Compact Awards. Here, Daniel explains the benefits of the programme.

(Pictured: Sunderland City Council, Voluntary Action Sunderland and Daniel from WarpIT (pictured right) being presented with the 2013 Compact Innovation Award.)


WasteAction allows staff inside organisations (for example, a local council) to give away or loan out surplus resources or ‘stuff’ to others inside their organisation in the first instance. Often the items are not required inside the primary organisation: so surplus resources can be donated, loaned or rented to other partner organisations - such as local voluntary organisations.
 
Sunderland Partnership (which is made up of the City Council, public, private and voluntary sector organisations) recently won a Compact Award for their use of WasteAction's online system called WarpIT. They used WarpIT to pass surplus resources within the Council and between the University, Hospital, voluntary and community sector and schools in the city.
 
Sunderland Partnership, in its lead role in the Compact Implementation Group in their local area, understood the wider social value of using the WarpIT website, and the need to work with its voluntary sector partners around delivery.
 
Most importantly, and in the spirit of Compact, the voluntary and community sector is allowed free access to the website, allowing local Compact members to claim surplus resources from their corporate counterparts in a legal, efficient and controlled manner.
 
The aim is to make towns, cities and regions better connected to maximise resources, and to improve the resilience of all involved. The programme also keeps useable, useful stuff out of skips.
 
People embrace this collaborative approach to help them become more efficient – but this approach can also help them become more connected with colleagues within their organisation and with partner organisations across the membership. There is great potential for the knock-on effect of improving partnership work between organisations more widely.
 
The effectiveness of the system increases as more partners join, as there are more resources circulating and the system serves its community better.
 
In these times of spending cuts and increasing demand, we’re encouraging organisations to look across the road at their neighbours and share resources – not just physical ‘stuff’, but mental and social resources too.
 
Interested in finding out more? The service is free for voluntary organisations, but I’ll be running a webinar on 25 February to help both sectors find out more about setting up a resource sharing or swapping network within and across organisations.
 
The session will explain the implications of internet exchange systems to reduce procurement costs, divert waste from landfill and strengthen partnerships.

Visit the WarpIT website to find out more: www.warp-it.co.uk

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