Orbit Housing - Using their power of procurement to support social enterprises and change lives

Stationery and Its Impact

April 2022

With your continous support, we’ve been able to reach above and beyond with both our procurement and our ability to give back. From your Orbit tree pens, to your stationery purchases, every single one of your orders goes towards helping support those who may need it.

Care and Support

 

We have a diverse amount of faces in our team, but I’d like to highlight one of our dispatch members, Daniella. She is the one who is normally packing your orders, making sure everything runs smoothly, so you can get your orders in a timely fashion.

No matter what the order may be, she always puts love and care into every single order that comes and goes through her dispatch.

Your Procurement’s Social Value:

Hours Of Higher Living Wage Employment
Ex Offender Employed
Homeless Employed
Hot meals for the Homeless

You would be surprised how much of an impact your stationery orders can have; because of your continuous support, we’ve been able to hire a largely diverse community to join us and help fulfill your orders!

A Truly Impactful Moment

Our team is continously supporting the local community through their work with Nighwatch, and, in particular, one of the most supportive members of our team, Nathan.

Every Monday, come rain or shine, Nathan is there with our friends at Nightwatch, working to support our local homeless community and helping out in every way he can.

From offering an ear, to helping others access support, they never turn a soul away, and are always eager to help, in whatever way they can!

A Furniture Procurement That Matters.

February 2022

Thought it may sound strange, sometimes a bench isn’t always just a bench. Sometimes, it can lead to whole new opportunities – like those we’ve been able to offer the people we work with. From your procurement, to your delivery, everything has been planned around how best to help those who may need support.

This Procurement Was Social:

Hours Of Higher Living Wage Employment
Homeless Employed
Hot meals for the Homeless

From our largely diverse procurement team, to our delivery team, every step of your bench procurement has been closely planned to benefit both the people around us, as well as the environment.

This Procurement Was Environmental:

Kg
Waste Recycled - 0% to Landfill
Local Suppliers

All of the waste produced from this procurement was 100% recycled, leading to 0% of it going to any form of landfill. The benches, themselves, were acquired from a local furniture & homeware shop, meaning the footprint for these are incredibly low!

Delivered with Care!

Your furniture procurement was delivered by someone who we work closely with, but who also knows the effects homelessness, abuse, and discrimination can have on a person.

Kevin is the type of person who is always raring to go, but he is also who helped both deliver and build the benches we have procured for yourselves. Though, he has not had the easiest life, he gets to experience first and foremost what it’s like working with people who value you for you through your procurement.

Orbit Christmas Hampers

December 2021
When is a Christmas hamper not a Christmas Hamper? When it’s also an extraordinary project that brings together Social Enterprises and for-purpose companies from every corner of the UK.

We do hope you enjoy your bundle of Christmas love, delivered in recognition of your complete awesomeness by an employer that thinks the world of you. We hope you enjoy every bite of chocolatey goodness and crunchy biscuit. But, as you sit down and enjoy your treats, please understand that your hamper has changed and even saved lives.

Your hamper has helped victims of human trafficking, given work to the homeless, given hope to families caring for relatives with dementia, supported single mum’s and removed plastic from the environment and supported people with failing mental health.

Your hamper is just like you, outstanding.

This Procurement Was Social:

Hours Of Living Wage Employment
Refugees Employed
Homeless Employed
Jobs Created

What's in your Hamper?

Holos Kombucha

HOLOS are a special company.  They are a social enterprise pioneering new ways to end modern-day slavery. Handcrafted in West Sussex, their kombucha is gut-friendly and has won numerous awards.

There are thousands of slaves in the UK today. Holos’ mission is to equip and encourage survivors of slavery in the UK to gain meaningful employment through real life training, job opportunities and partnerships.
 

Holos are committed to the goal of working with survivors of trafficking to provide long-term, sustainable and hope filled solutions for their future, to reduce the likelihood of further exploitation. They were created with this social purpose in mind, curating a small-batch product that could provide ample, entry level, meaningful roles for survivors of slavery in locations across the UK. 

Island Bakery Shortbread

Joe & Dawn Reade were fresh-faced and naïve young graduates of the University of Edinburgh when they started baking bread in a converted garage in Tobermory in 1994. The local baker was retiring, and the islanders needed someone to keep them in lovely fresh loaves.

In 1996 they bought a shop premises on Tobermory’s colourful Main Street, which became the Island Bakery Delicatessen. Through stocking the deli with tempting speciality foods, Dawn realised that there was a bit of a gap in the market for tempting organic biscuits. Keen to make something that could travel beyond Mull, the Reades thought biscuits seemed to be an excellent product to introduce to places beyond the island’s shores.

By 2007, the biscuit side of the business had overtaken the deli, and the Reades made the difficult decision to sell their shop to concentrate on biscuits. Soon afterwards, plans were made to build a new bakery. The new premises were completed in June 2012. Powered by local renewable energy – wind and water for electricity, and wood for heating the ovens- the building makes Joe & Dawn feel all grown up now.

These skilfully baked Isle of Mull butter shortbread biscuits are delicious. Organic standards ensure that all ingredients have been produced on land that is free from pesticides or artificial fertilisers. As a result, every ingredient in the biscuits are fully traceable back to the producer.

 

Two Farmers

Two Farmers are genuinely passionate about the Herefordshire countryside, enabling them to grow award-winning potatoes; founders Sean and Mark met one night for a pint of local beer and a packet of crisps. They hatched out a plan of honouring and celebrating these potatoes, and that night the Two Farmers brand was born.

Two Farmers grow, harvest, store, cook and pack their crisps. They maintain control throughout each process to ensure you receive the finest end product. Two Farmers are committed to giving back to the environment, which is why we keep our road miles low and use 100% compostable packaging. They aim to promote Herefordshire as a county of outstanding agricultural achievement.

Made entirely using natural flavours from their farm in Hereford, Two Farmers are the only plastic-free and home-compostable crisp manufacturer. They are powered entirely by renewable energy and support rural communities into work.

Divine Raspberry Chocolate 

Divine are a female-led social enterprise that supports predominantly female Coco farmers through fair trade, education, and environmental support.  Divine chocolate has been palm-oil free since 2013 and has taken a leadership role in conserving the rainforest areas of West Africa

In the early 1990s, changes in the cocoa market in Ghana prompted Nana Frimpong Abebrese (Divines founder) to begin creating a farmer-owned company to help farmers sell their cocoa. Nana was a visionary farmer representative and independent representative of COCOBOD (a Ghanaian government-controlled institution that fixes the buying price for cocoa in Ghana). 

Nana and a group of other farmers found ways to ensure the company’s net gains would belong to farmers.  Nana guaranteed that farmers would be paid in cash, and fair trade premiums could be invested in social programs.

This bar demonstrates the best of ethical chocolate for you to share with your family!

Refuge Chocolate Melt

Refuge Chocolate is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Refuge exists to help give people a brighter future through our support of Flourish NI (a Northern Ireland based anti-human trafficking charity). Refuge donates proceeds to Flourish NI and allows survivors of human trafficking to get involved in the business.

Being rescued from human trafficking is only the beginning of a journey to recovery. Government support is provided for a limited time, often not long enough for a survivor to recover. Refuge and Flourish NI exist to provide long term support. They also support survivors who choose not to enter the government support system for various legitimate reasons.

Following support from Flourish, some survivors choose to enter the statutory system. Flourish recognises that each person’s journey is different and their tailored support reflects that.

%
Plastic Free Delivery
Ex Offenders Employed
%
Social Value by Spend
Mums Employed

Jamila’s Ethical Coffee

Organic, fairtrade and utterly delicious, 

this coffee has been made with love in memory of the mother of Ethstats founder. The ‘Jamila’ on the tin is her handwriting, and she drew the flower in her 11th year 

of dementia. 100% of the proceeds go to dementia patients and their families. Plastic-free, home recyclable and also available in 750g tins for your offices and home working

Goupie Taste of Christmas Chocolate

An Orbit favourite! We love this UK female-run family business giving work to mums and dads in school-friendly hours and promoting positive mental health. And they give their profits to the NHS. 

These are moreish, vegan and packaged in entirely plastic-free, biodegradable food-safe packaging. Enjoy!

Ethstat Tree Pen

Enjoy your Orbit Ethstat Tree Pen and grow a Scots Pine tree. Once used, you can plant your pen, removing 1,000kgC02 from the atmosphere. If not planted, your pen will biodegrade responsibly, and you can still use the seeds!

Orbit Bag

This year, everything comes to you in a beautiful high-quality reusable bag. Waste-free and supporting homelessness and over 1,700 meals through Ethstat

When Orbit visited the Pack and Wrap

Real Lives Real Impact

Supporting women living with homelessness

stories from the streets

At the end of 2020 Orbit came to us with a project. The main aim was to protect Orbit’s staff with 3300 reusable face coverings. Along the way, the project had to impact a community positively but not affect the environment.

Working with our partners in the homeless communities of South London, we offered three women, each of them grandmothers, the chance of some work and the opportunity to share their stories. These are the stories of modern homelessness.

Donna is 51, homeless and a single parent who also has two grandchildren. She was a Manager at a Care Home looking after the young with Autism and Aspergers. Unfortunately, her health deteriorated, and in 2017, Donna found herself with pneumonia and in a coma.

As a result of her illness, she lost her job and home, and her life took a different direction. In 2019 Donna’s health improved, and she began to rebuild her life. She is actively seeking work in the community care sector and has a passion for communication and helping those with speech impediments

I never expected to be at this stage in my life. Yes, I’m homeless, and yes, I’m unemployed, but I’m no quitter.

Mandy has a similar story to tell, there are days when she sleeps in her car, but she was once a social worker.

Mandy has three grown-up children and seven grandchildren. For many years, Mandy has suffered from anxiety and depression stemming from her early life and working as a Social Worker. Mandy struggled for years looking after a full caseload of abused children. Despite going to her manager and her doctor with a spiralling mental health condition, she was offered no help and told to “pull herself together”.

When the inevitable breakdown happened, Mandy lost her home, her job and years of her life. It was only much later on that she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Mandy told us that

I never expected to be in this position late in my life. I should be looking forward to retirement. My PTSD has not gone away, and being homeless is unsettling and triggers old beliefs of being unworthy.

Josephine Packing

Josephine is another Grandmother, and like Mandy and Donna works in the caring professions. Josephine is the full-time carer to a man with learning disabilities having fostered many children. Josephine lives in her own home and is relatively comfortable by comparison. Under the surface, though Josephine has a wider family in the UK and Jamaica for whom her income matters. Many of her family have lost their jobs to the pandemic and in some cases are homeless.

The many odd jobs Josephine picks up are what keeps her family afloat. Like mothers everywhere she can only be as happy as her least happy child.

It means a lot to me that I can help them and that there are companies out there like Orbit, giving back.

These three women challenge many of homelessness’s preconceptions: its male, addiction-related, or psychiatric conditions. Instead, here are three professional women with families, three professional carers and all three living with homelessness because of illness.

Every one of them has expressed their gratitude to Orbit for the opportunity to work. They use phrases like self worth, confidence-building and feeling like me again. Work. It’s only a small thing, but it’s an everything. 

The Greenest Mask

0
Carbon Neutral Deliveries
0
Plastic masks replaced
0
Trees planted
0 %
Biodegradable
0
Mission:

Protect & Preserve
0 kg
CO2 Removed

Everything about this mask is about achieving our aim of protect and preserve.  The face covering itself is made from Irish linen.  A local sustainable material made from flax. Each mask can be washed up to 100 times and they are coated with a water resistant coating that helps protect the wearer and those around around them.  The wrap and stickers it comes in is 100% biodegradable too so you can compost the lot safe in the knowledge it will not be around longer than your mask!  The delivery, process and manufacture is (like everything we do) Climate positive.  We reduce our emissions then offset the unavoidable remainders so that we and our products go beyond Carbon Neutral. 

Previous Impact Projects: Celebrating all you've done in 2020.

Happy Holidays to all at Orbit

So this is Christmas and what have you done

In the hamper we have included a leaflet that highlights all the good that has been done by Orbit Group since the beginning of the pandemic. By the simple act of procuring goods and services needed by the group through our social enterprise, Orbit has supported some of the most vulnerable communities in the country and protected the environment. There is a massive difference between doing things right and doing the right thing, yet through its choices,  Orbit Group have managed to do both. We are very proud to be your partners.

JUST LOOK AT THE AMAZING IMPACT YOU HAVE MADE THROUGH YOUR SUPPLY

What's in your UK Manufactured, Fairtrade, Ethical Christmas Hamper...

Orbit Group asked us to produce a hamper of products that would show their staff just how grateful they are to have such an incredible team. They also wanted to send a message about just how committed the organisation is to building better communities.  

So, we created a hamper demonstrated our shared values, that would show support for local products, Social Enterprises, Cooperatives, SME’s and UK businesses. The hamper would also be carbon positive, plastic free and as ecological and waste free as possible.

We sourced all the outer packaging from companies based in areas Orbit are active in. With the second lockdown, this wasn’t easy, but we are proud to have produced a Christmas gift for you all, from places that mean something to you, that support local business’s and that make a difference to people’s lives.

The outer wrap envelope is from Birmingham while your bespoke gift box was designed by us and created in South Warwickshire. No metals have been used in the printing making it fully biodegradable. Your protective cover is from Bexley and is made using UK pcw. All printed materials were sourced and produced in Norwich using vegan ink and B Corp supply chains. Even your tissue paper is unique; acid free, biodegradable and made with vegan ink.

So, what’s in your gift box?

Goupie – 10 minutes down the A21 from Orbit’s Davit House Project is Goupie a Chocolatier that creates incredible vegan and gluten-free treats. Your little taste of Christmas is a feast of festive flavours. Rich dried fruits, roasted nuts, citrus peel and exotic Christmas spices. We’re talking all the flavour of a mince pie in a luxurious little chocolate. These treats are best served with a warm glass of mulled wine.

A hop skip and a jump away from Ilkes Modular Housing Factory that are making modular homes for the Wellesbourne Project, is Steenbergs.  They are the ethical and Fairtrade spice supplier that created your Fairtrade Mulled Wine spices in a reusable calico bag.

A little further down the road is Hull, landing spot for Divine Chocolate, the women-owned cocoa company that supports small farmers in Ghana. Divine’s story is an inspiring one of women protecting their community by ignoring the multinationals and creating their own brand and bars from their products. Fairtrade, and a tasting pack put together especially for you.

As a highlander, Bruce was very keen that Orbit also has a taste of northern goodness. Kirsty at Angelic creates the tastiest gluten-free cookies in all the land, all from her Kitchen in Inverness. Expect wild flavours of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves balanced with the sharpness of cranberry. Kirsty apologies for using the only piece of plastic in the hamper but there is no other way to keep them fresh.

Back in London, Emily, the urban gardener and Founder of Seedball is on a mission to make the world a friendlier place for bees and butterflies. She created the pellets in your matchbox that will help even the least green-fingered grow wildflowers helping you with conservation of the natural world in even the most urban of environments. As you’ll see on the box, we’d love you to send us images of your wildflowers to us at team@ethstat.com

 

Nemi Teas, a social enterprise, provide employment to refugees to give them local work experience and job readiness skills to enter the UK workforce helping them integrate into broader society. All their tea bags are plastic-free, the packaging is biodegradable, and the teas are Organic, Fairtrade, and Rainforest-Alliance certified.

A few minutes away from Orbit South’s offices in Hastings, is Wedding In A Teacup. Mum of four-year-old Fin and one-year-old Romy, WIATC’s founder, Hester, is fanatical about all things pretty. She personally chooses each product, stock and the designs. The five women that make WIATC each had a hand in designing, printing and filling the sunflower seeds in your hamper. Who can grow the tallest? Please do send us your photos.

Finally, your Orbit Star, the Christmas decoration chosen to remind each and every employee that they have been a star in 2020. Handmade in India by a Fairtrade factory that supports the ostracised Dalit people, the untouchables of India.

This year Orbit has done incredible work making procurement decisions that have helped thousands of people in the most desperate of situations. It seems only fitting that the ‘Star’ itself is doing the same and is a decoration you will be able to reuse again and again.

Happy Holidays Orbit, never forget – you are amazing.

A hamper of mental wellbeing

2020 has been a tough year for us all. For all the media attention on the rebirth of communities and the birth of a zoom generation, our most common shared experience is of loneliness.

In building this hamper, we shared the story of one of our friends who packed your gifts. Elsa is an extraordinary and brave woman who shared her story of lockdown in the hope that it brings into the open feelings that many of us have but might not admit. Elsa has a brilliant and successful day job running her own business the award winning and quite amazing Let It Be Cake but everyone needs friends, connection, companionship. Even the strongest and most successful of us need others around them.

In fact, every person that worked on your hampers has struggled with mental health issues in one form or another, including me, Bruce, the author of this piece.

Elsa packed your hampers

If you, or someone you know is struggling, we want you to know that you are not alone. My experience was to get through each day, just putting one foot in front of the last. I was lucky. I was able to talk, without fear or judgement with the people around me, but even then, it took me years to admit the full extent of the despair I felt.

Acknowledging your mental health needs is not weakness, in days like these its the greatest strength you can show.

As we were putting the pack together we were joined by friends Eliza and Paul from  Lives not Knives. Over the summer as the first lockdown ended Orbit Housing helped us donate PPE to LNK.  This enabled them to continue their work, taking young people out of some of the most deprived communities in the UK and give them respite breaks.

You have to remember that in some communities many children were locked up for three months in accommodation where they had less room, and less activity than prisoners.

LNK at the British museum

Over the summer the LNK led trips  to the beach in Brighton, and to the British Museum. They also gave the children the opportunity to try sports and games they would otherwise not have had the opportunity to experience.  All of these were possible in the midst of a global pandemic by the PPE we were able to donate, thanks to Orbit.

The impact on the mental health of these children was almost immeasurable and had a significant, positive impact on their protection. The NSPCC found that the lockdown period, with its increase in parental stress, reduction of normal protective services, and an increase in young people’s vulnerability led to an increase in physical, mental and sexual abuse.  By helping organisations like LNK Orbit have had a direct positive impact on young peoples lives.

 

 

Helping the Homeless and the Environment

croydon-homeless
Nightwatch feeding the homeless in South London

Changing our world

Orbit has been leading the field as a Housing Association with its values set on building communities. Ethical Stationery is proud to support these values. Every time Orbit places an order we use the surplus to give back to our most vulnerable in our society. We work with three main homelessness organisations in South London using the funds generated through our work with Orbit. Nightwatch is a charity that supports rough sleepers, providing food and support for over 150 people a night. Evolve Housing and Support, helps homeless, ex-offenders and addicts working towards sobriety. Beam is an incredible charity that helps people that are on the fringes of society find their way into education and training

Nightwatch feeds up to 150 people on the streets in Croydon every single night. Clients receive a meal, food pack and items as varied as clothes, shoes, personal hygiene packs and in some cases household items like kettles, toasters and microwaves. These help people settle into basic housing. Since the lockdown Orbit has helped by providing a donation of £1000, a years worth of stickers to label up sandwiches and food, and PPE for volunteers and clients. Crucially at the beginning of lockdown when the rough sleepers were placed into emergency housing, Orbit helped us donate a weeks food for 50 rough sleepers.

Even though Nightwatch is dealing with the rough sleeping emergency it understands that it still has a part to play in protecting the environment.  Using the proceeds of our work with Orbit Housing, we have been able to change Nightwatch’s drinking cups for biodegradable alternatives.  The move will stop 200 unrecyclable single use plastic cups from entering the waste stream every night. 

Orbit has also helped out at the Evolve shelter in South London.  The Evolve Shelter has 80 clients, each coming from a variety of backgrounds who need our support. Orbit helped us provide PPE  and sanitisers for all the clients and staff.  

While all of these projects have been at the sharp end of homeless care, our work with Orbit has helped us rebuild lives and help take people off the streets for good and into work.  At Ethical Stationery, we have partnered with Beam to help identify people ready to train and take on new work and careers that will move them away from homelessness for good. 

 

We are proud to have removed polystyrene cups and replace them with fully biodegradable ones. By doing this we’ve saved over 4000 pieces of single use plastic from entering the environment. This equates to approximately 2.4kg of CO2 saved every night!

We have supplied over 4000 Bio paper cups
Training the homeless

MEET SOME OF THE PEOPLE ORBIT HAS HELPED

Michael's story

I really enjoy being active and doing the job or role that I enjoy. I am at my happiest when I am doing hands on work and keeping myself busy. Getting a job will help me get my own freedom and independence. I don’t want to be reliant on universal credit, I want to earn my own money. Hopefully this will mean that in two years time I will be renting my own one bedroom flat and have some security.

In September 2017 I became homeless because my parents made me leave my family home. They made me choose between them and a relationship I was in at the time. I chose the relationship but when that broke down I didn’t have anywhere to go. Things changed when I approached my local council and was referred to Centrepoint. They gave me a place to live and referred me to Beam so I can get back into work.I was working in a carpentry apprenticeship towards the end of last year but the outbreak of Covid-19 has made it very difficult to secure work since. It’s also put a strain on my relationships with family, not being able to see them anymore and spend time together. I loved the physical aspect of carpentry and feel that I can apply that to a role in a warehouse. I am used to working with my hands and in labouring type roles so I’m ready to apply my skills to a role in a warehouse.

Ricardo's story

Ricardo  is a regular client at Croydon Nightwatch.  I first became homeless last year when I was unable to pay my rent and got evicted from the flat I was in. I was promised money by my ex-boss that I never received and, as a result, was left in a financially desperate situation. I was out on the street and things just got worse when I couldn’t find a new job because of having no stable address. Becoming homeless is one of the worst things that can happen to someone. I had always paid my own way and suddenly I felt I had lost everything including my dignity.

Things started to turn around for me when I was offered a house to stay in by a kind stranger and I came off the streets. I am fortunate enough to have been helped by those around me but I don’t want to be reliant on other people’s support, I want to be the one helping others. This is my main motivation for improving myself and making my life better.

 

Dee's story

Dee's Story

It has always made me happy to be able to help those in need. I have eight years of experience working as a support worker with many different vulnerable people, and it’s something I love to do.

Unfortunately, I became homeless with my daughter in 2019 as my permit for staying in the UK was delayed for more than a year. All of my support was stopped. I couldn’t work and my daughter and I were told to leave the property we were living in. I had my daughter with me and we had to stay in a church for some time. Being homeless with a child is a bad experience no one should encounter. I was almost pushed into selling drugs but I kept saying to myself that I had to be strong for my daughter and that we would soon come out of the situation.

Things started improving as soon as I got my residence permit back. Now Beam is supporting me to raise the funds to get my own home to live in. I’m currently pregnant and my babe is due in the summer. I hope we have a new home by then. After that, I’ll be able to get back into work, which is so important. Having a job changes life for the better. I will not have to depend on others in the same way again. I’ll be able to support other instead.

Soraya's story

I’ve always believed that the best thing is to be positive and believe in yourself, to ask others for help, to stop blaming yourself and to try new things. You can find another way of moving forward, through training, getting a different job. It’s possible to improve your life.

I’ve been homeless since 2018. After getting pregnant, everyone around me wanted me to terminate it. I refused, and at first they turned on me, so I had to go to Southwark Council who put me in temporary accommodation. Since then, my family have come to understand what I’ve done. I’ve also achieved a lot! I’ve graduated from university, passed my driving test and had my bouncing baby boy.

I’ve been working for much of the last year as a cleaner, which I’ve really enjoyed. My team have become like a family to me. We all care for and look out for each other. However, I’ve recently been moved into another temporary flat far away, and unless I’m able to return to the borough I’ll have to leave my job. I don’t want to do this. I want to be able to pay for myself and to continue working in the job I enjoy.

When I got a call from Beam, I was so happy. They’re going to fund me to get my own home. It’s amazing. I won’t be homeless anymore, I’ll be able to continue work and I can start moving forward with my life again.