January 22, 2024

Whitbread partnership

A valuable long term partnership

Roger Wilson

In the summer of 2022 we helped Whitbread / Premier Inn to move 50,000 duvets and pillows to those in need in Ukraine via our partner organisation, Ukraine on Palms.

This was the start of what has now turned into a long term partnership, spearheaded by Nathan Philip, the supply chain manager for Premier Inn who identified a great opportunity to help more people in Ukraine, with Premier Inn goods that were due for replacement. Premier Inn's parent company is Whitbread, so Nathan and the team put this idea to the senior management team at head office, and as part of the Whitbread 'Force for Good' programme he managed to get everyone on board. We now have a great partnership that has the potential to help a lot of people over a long period of time.

The next phase of this help is to deliver up to 2000 mattresses due to all Premier Inn hotels having a refresh.

Nathan told us “While the mattresses were at the end of their commercial life, they weren’t at the end of their useful life, so we identified an opportunity to donate them to people displaced by the war”.

Moving mattresses is not an easy task. They are of course large and heavy, each item needs to be properly checked to make sure only the best mattresses are taken to Ukraine, only a certain amount can be transported at any one time, and that is after they need to be collected from all over the country and then stored ahead of transportation. Once they get there, the correct individuals need to be properly identified and then of course they need a base to sit on. If that sounds complicated, this is a very diluted amount of complexity, so as part of the project, many of Whitbread suppliers were tasked with helping out, storing and delivering the items as required. We are all incredibly grateful for their support.

Our amazing partner, Ukraine on Palms, managed to source a company that were prepared to make the bed frames for cost price and the project was therefore good to go! 

Charles Storer, Head of Operations at Hope & Aid Direct said: “Hope and Aid Direct is a bridge between corporates and charities – we take aid, not sides. But when it comes to giving aid, many companies don’t know where to start as humanitarian aid logistics aren’t as simple as they seem. Most of our relationships with businesses are through third party organisations, but we have a unique relationship with Premier Inn in that we work directly with them to form a plan of action to quickly get those things where they need to be. We started out with the duvets and pillow sets, and now the mattresses are a very welcome continuation of our partnership, which will help people in unimaginable circumstances get a better night’s sleep. I implore other companies to follow Whitbread’s lead.”

The first truck load of mattresses went out in March 2023 and a second load was taken in July. As we receive more we are moving them out to affected areas as quickly as possible.

Dominic Paul, CEO of Whitbread, said: “Sleep is a fundamental human right and we’re pleased to do our bit in a small way to make lives easier for those in unimaginable circumstances. We’re extremely thankful to all our suppliers who have helped make this goal a reality”.

It doesn't stop there though, as we continue to move more mattresses and aid to Ukraine, we are hoping to put together a load of mattresses for a potential new partner in Türkiye as many families are still trying to rebuild their lives following the earthquake in February 2023.

Whitbread and Premier Inn are ready and willing to provide help to those in need wherever it is possible and as Charles said, we implore more corporates to follow where Whitbread have led. Corporate donations help so many people, if you think you can help please do get in touch.

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