Ex-PM Gordon Brown and Comic Relief invite businesses to roll out Brick By Brick project helping struggling families

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has joined forces with Comic Relief to launch an appeal to help the “growing needs” of families experiencing poverty by expanding our Brick By Brick project running in Wigan.


Mr Brown will invite socially responsible firms and philanthropic foundations to join together in a “coalition of compassion” and donate goods and money to a service called multibank.


Two multibanks have been established in Fife and Wigan, donating more than 1.5 million items to 150,000 families across Greater Manchester and Scotland.


At an event in London on Thursday, Comic Relief and online giant Amazon will offer to help expand the initiative, with a goal of supporting half a million families from six multibanks by the end of 2024.


Mr Brown said: “We are now seeing poverty in Britain on a scale I never thought we’d see again. It is this winter crisis ahead that makes us appeal for emergency actions and a new social contract between companies and charities. Children cannot be made to pay in their life chances and from their very earliest years for the continuing cost-of-living crisis. The success of our multibanks in Fife and Wigan shows big business can make substantial differences to families’ ability to care for their children, which is a benefit to us all in future.  I call on all companies to give what they can – surplus goods or money – to support this important initiative against poverty. We have a particular need for household cleaning and hygiene goods so that children don’t need to be sent to school unwashed and without clean teeth.”


Keely Dalfen, CEO of Wigan multibank Brick-by-Brick, said: ‘’The Brick has seen first-hand the growing levels of poverty in Greater Manchester, but since launching England’s first multibank in March we are able to offer a lifeline. We can ensure that everyone has access to the basic essentials, to help build resilience in the face of destitution. This crisis goes beyond the individual, it has lasting impact on our children, our communities and across generations, but as a partnership of businesses, and voluntary and community organisations, we can do so much more. I am very grateful to Amazon for co-founding the ground-breaking multibank model and helping to encourage other businesses to donate their products that would otherwise have gone to waste. I’m delighted to welcome Comic Relief to our coalition of compassion, helping us to lift even more families out of material poverty whilst at the same time helping reduce waste and promote recycling and reuse of products.”


Amazon UK country manager John Boumphrey said: “Our goal is to help as many families as possible by connecting surplus essentials from Amazon and other businesses with those who need it most. “We’re incredibly proud of the impact the multibanks in Fife and Wigan are having and we are committed to expand to six sites nationwide next year, but we need more donations. “We’re calling for businesses to come on board and join our coalition of compassion – help us to ensure that no good product goes to waste, and no family goes without the basics they need.”


Find out more about Brick By Brick