Warewashing companies Meiko and Hobart have put their competitive rivalry aside to launch a joint initiative aimed at making redundant catering equipment available to UK charities at no cost.
The pair are calling on manufacturers, distributors, kitchen houses and other suppliers to identify surplus catering equipment that could be allocated to regional charities which genuinely have no means of purchase.
Both companies have pledged £2,500 each to get the project rolling and assist the set-up of the charity.
They aim to establish a central database of equipment, with the administration to be handled centrally and funded by contributions from supporters of the scheme.
“All manufacturers and distributors have, to a greater or lesser extent, some items of equipment that are redundant but otherwise perfectly serviceable,” explained Meiko’s managing director Bill Downie.
“While there may be some value that could be recouped via the second-hand or scrap metal market, we would rather see this equipment put to good use to support genuine charities in the UK which receive little or no public funding.”
The idea is that any qualifying equipment will remain stored in the respective suppliers’ warehouse rather than be moved to a central facility. However, the charity will arrange and fund the delivery of the equipment to the site.
It hopes distributors will be able to volunteer their services should assistance be needed with any installations.
David Riley, director of warewash UK at Hobart, said he hoped the initiative would help make productive use of serviceable equipment that would otherwise go to waste.
“In this day and age I appreciate that the economic environment is not conducive to charity donations; however, it is precisely those market conditions that make doing your bit for charity even more valuable,” he said. “By supplying suitable charities with otherwise redundant equipment, we can make a difference without affecting the general equipment market.”
Meiko and Hobart have set a deadline of September 2 for the receipt of expressions of interest, after which a working party will be set up to create the initial framework for the organisation.
The idea for the initiative came about following informal discussions that the pair held about other issues affecting their market.
Downie added: “Many UK catering equipment suppliers and distributors already support charities, either with direct support or via fundraising, but what we are asking for is that everybody involved in the equipment supply side of the industry comes together to create a professionally run, nationally recognised service that lesser known community-based charities can turn to for support.”
One immediate challenge the pair has is coming up with a name for the charity that suitably reflects their intentions.
Anybody with suggestions or ideas can email Catering Insight here and we will happily pass them on.