The Toy Project is an Islington-based charity that takes donations of pre-loved toys to be given to children who need them, or sold in their shop.
Awarded a grant from Islington Council accompanied by advisory support from the ERDF-funded business transformation programme, they were able to invest in an electric cargo bike to make toy collections more environmentally friendly and embark on a marketing and outreach campaign to educate families around the circular economy and shopping sustainably.
What was the challenge?
The Toy Project is a charity with the circular economy at its core, encouraging families to use stuff again by donating old toys and buying pre-loved toys from their Archway shop. Proceeds from the shop go towards free, local play-based activities and the charity regularly gives toys to disadvantaged children.
The organisation wanted to increase their outreach and amplify their environmental and charitable impact. They planned to invest in an e-bike to offer a toy collection service alongside a marketing and engagement campaign to inspire and educate more families about shopping sustainably and donating unwanted toys.
What did we do?
Thanks to a grant and support from Islington Council and ReLondon’s business transformation team, The Toy Project was able to invest in a second-hand electric cargo bike to facilitate their toy collections while reducing their carbon footprint.
With their wheels secured, they embarked on a marketing campaign that included creating new child-friendly information collateral to kick start sustainable habits at an early age, as well as taking part in key local events to increase the visibility of their mission in the community.
The Toy Project hoped to encourage sustainable behaviours resulting in more donations and purchases from their shop, thereby amplifying their impact both in terms of reducing toys sent to landfill (or languishing in cupboards!) and avoiding buying new items. And of course, the increase in income would go on to support the organisation’s other activities.
Lilly Lambert, Business Manager, The Toy Project
All of these events allowed us to reach new customers and audiences and ensure that our work is recognised within the sustainability industry as the optimal way to reduce waste and carbon emissions, with regards to toys.
What were the outcomes?
After a busy summer holiday period, The Toy Project was pleased to discover that the number of sales in the shop had increased by 15% and the total income had increased by 11% compared to the previous year. And they recorded 300 donations of approx. 6,000 unwanted toys that would have gone to waste but will now be given to children in need or sold in the shop.
Outside of the organisation, their efforts resulted in the promotion of circular economy behaviours to citizens across Islington and beyond, having attended PRIDE; Fair in the Square at Highgate, and The Sustainability Show at Islington Business Design Centre. Their staff benefitted from the added engagement through the experience of running collections and explaining the importance of sustainable shopping habits to a variety of audiences.
Lessons learned and next steps
The Toy Project is a great example of how a relatively small investment by a public body, in this case Islington Council, can have a ripple of positive impacts. The investment in an e-bike and marketing not only had direct commercial benefits for charity, it gave them the opportunity to increase their presence within the community, driving awareness among residents of the advantages of circular economy and sustainable shopping. And of course, the increase in donations and revenue generated will go on to improve the lives of The Toy Project’s beneficiaries.
Get in touch
If you would like to support The Toy Project, visit their website and make sure to stop by their shop in Archway!
Are you a London-based business curious about scaling or adopting a circular business model? Find out more about ReLondon’s business transformation: www.relondon.gov.uk/business