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Lauren Holmes outside the ShareShop in Chester.

Staff from the University’s Seaborne Library organised a Caring Cups campaign. Throughout the last academic term, they encouraged staff and students across the institution to fill re-used disposable coffee cups with loose change. The cups were collected before Christmas – and an amazing £430.70 had accumulated!

Added to this, there was a bake sale, winter crafting workshops, a pop-up swap shop for pre-loved clothes and accessories, and toys were collected at Christmas for resettled children. Together, this raised an additional £450.

Lauren Holmes, Resources Assistant at Seaborne Library, said: “This year we decided to concentrate the efforts of the library’s Green Impact team on fundraising for ShareAid, which is such an important charity in Chester. The response has amazed us, and we’re so happy that staff and students from the University have been on board every step of the way. We’ve been trying to deal with the issue of disposable coffee cups for over a year now, and cleaning them out hasn’t been the most pleasant of jobs – but it’s worth it when we know that we’re saving up to 180 cups per day from going to landfill, and potentially ending up in the ocean.”

Caitlyn Hallman, another member of the Seaborne Library’s Green Impact team, came up with the Caring Cups campaign while cleaning out dozens of coffee cups one day.

She said: “I came up with the idea while trying to think of a way to turn the bad (the coffee cup waste) into something good. We are all aware of the increased amount of people living on the streets. For those who want to help, it can be overwhelming - there are often contradictory messages about the best way to do it. Our scheme aims to show people how they can make a start. Our cups were decorated and instructions attached on when to return them. We were hoping to give out 200 cups over the course of the year; we ended up giving out at least 250 in the first week!

“Our cups were distributed throughout student accommodation, in University departments, and of course, in our libraries. We’re so pleased that our idea to encourage sustainability has had such a positive impact. We would also like to give a special mention to our colleagues Shaunagh Smith, Volunteer Co-ordinator at the University, and Chloe Percival, who works in Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions. They organised the winter workshops, which has helped towards us raising this fantastic amount.”

Chairperson of ShareAid, Debra Webb, said: “As a local unfunded charity, we are so grateful for the incredible ongoing support shown to us by the staff and students of the University of Chester. We could not continue our crucial work, offering basic humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable people in society, without generous public contributions like this. We can’t thank them enough.”


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