Our bags are being donated to the following organisations:
– Eagles Wings Trust, Dundee
– CATH (Churches action for the homeless), Perth
– OWLS (Onestop women’s learning service), Perth
– Bethany Christian Trust, Methil & Edinburgh
– Fife Womens Aid
– Dundee Womens Aid
– Edinburgh Womens Aid
– Barnardos, Kirkcaldy.
– Homes4good, Cupar
– Storehouse, St Andrews
– St Catherines Convent of Mercy, Edinburgh
– Crisis, Edinburgh
– Gilven House, Glenrothes
Why did Bags of Kindness start?
Earlier in 2016 I saw a photo on Facebook of a hand written note which read something like ‘Fill a handbag with essential personal items and next time you see a homeless women give it to her’. I loved the idea instantly and it stuck with me, coming into my mind again every few days.
Having volunteered for the homeless charity Eagles Wings Trust in Dundee for 6 years (and working for Gilven House a homeless hostel in Glenrothes where I worked as a project worker for almost a year before becoming a teacher), homelessness was something close to my heart. My husband and I then found out we were expecting our first child and were moving house so sadly made the decision to leave our volunteer position with Eagles Wings.
Keen to still support their work I learnt that approx 8-10 women attented the Eagles Wings drop in/soup kitchen each week. So, one evening with the handbag note in my mind I set about writing a message to 10 mummy friends to ask if they would be interested in helping me fill 10 bags to give to these ladies. I then thought of a few more friends who I knew would love the idea and sent the message to them. By the end of the first evening 85 women had been added to a secret Facebook group by the name of ‘An army of women spreading some kindness’. By the end of the first week those friends had begun to add their friends and the page had leapt up to 132 women. A real community was emerging. A real sense of solidarity to help women in need was so clear and I was left in a state of awe and filled with such encouragement that others too had grasped this vision. Except this was growing far beyond what I had imagined in such a short amount of time.
Two weeks in and the group stood at over 300 women (Wow!!), the local paper had heard about the project and wanted to run a story and a follow up piece, four drop of points had been set up, a new name and logo created and a date set for the first collection! Phew!
In the weeks following we were interviewed on the Kaye Adams radio show, STV filmed an interview for the 6 o’clock news programme and we were also very kindly offered a small office by our local MP Constituency office, where we store, sort and pack the bags that are donated.
We now have a small team of volunteers who help each week to collect, sort, pack (and add a Bag of Kindness tag to each bag with an encouraging message on the back) and deliver the bags as well as helping with admin.
We have now donated approx 400 bags to approx 13 organisations across Fife, Dundee, Perth and Edinburgh.
We are excited to see this community continue to grow, reaching out to and supporting others through kindness.Nicki Bradwell