A Hertfordshire homelessness charity has scooped a major national award for the work it does selling items through its online shop.
Emmaus Hertfordshire has been presented the UK Community Hero Award by eBay, one of ten awards presented to businesses and organisations across the UK to recognise exceptional or innovative use of the online selling platform.
The Hertfordshire charity supports 39 people, or companions, who have experienced homelessness by giving them a safe home, meaningful work and the help they need to rebuild their lives. Companions can stay at Emmaus Hertfordshire for as long as they need.
Its five physical shops across the county have been very successful in raising the majority of the funds needed to support the charity’s work and last year the team decided to expand their retail operation by opening an eBay shop. Through this online platform they can sell even more of the high-quality items that are donated to them to a wider audience.
The launch of the eBay shop was a very timely move. With traditional High Street retail seeing incredibly challenging trading conditions prior to COVID-19, the first lockdown hit hard.
Emmaus Hertfordshire’s on-line retail was well underway and the charity used the time to develop ideas and ways to expand their ecommerce offer. This means they are better prepared in this second wave to ensure the organisation has an income during what are incredibly hard times for charities across the country.
People can shop online with Emmaus Hertfordshire at www.ebay.co.uk/str/emmaushertfordshire.
The Emmaus Hertfordshire shops, house clearance service and recycling workshops provide the 39 companions supported by the charity with meaningful work opportunities and training, and the launch of the eBay shop has given them the chance to develop their digital skills.
John Chesters, CEO of Emmaus Hertfordshire, said: ‘We are delighted to receive this award from eBay, especially as we were up against some tough competition. The award really reflects the hard work of our retail team, companions and volunteers.
‘We launched our eBay store so that we could reach more customers but actually over recent months online selling has become even more important to us. While our physical shops have been affected by COVID-19 closures, we will be able to keep selling to our customers thanks to our eBay shop.
‘The launch of our e-commerce business has also opened up new opportunities to those living here as part of our community, enabling them to learn and develop new digital skills.’
eBay received over 1,200 entries for this year’s awards, demonstrating the depth and breadth of small businesses on the platform. Following an exceptionally challenging start to the year for many small businesses, each of the ten category prize winners will receive a £5,000 prize to invest in their business.
Murray Lambell, General Manager of eBay UK, said: ‘These award-winning small but mighty businesses are a testament to the wealth of entrepreneurial talent right across Britain and we are privileged to have them trade on our platform. Everything means more if you’re small. The ups and downs mean more to them and they put more heart and soul into every sale. When you buy from a small business, you buy from real people and we’ve been blown away by the incredible stories of resilience, tenacity and courage. As more small businesses join eBay, it is also fantastic to see the appetite to shop and support small across the UK also increase.’