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UK business crushes cars for charity

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 02:31

Jan 26 - British start-up Giveacar raises money for charity by reselling or scrapping unwanted cars. Ruairidh Villar reports.

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Crushed cars turned into cash for charity. This London junkyard is the front line of what British Prime Minister David Cameron calls "social innovation". A new UK company -- Giveacar -- sells or scraps unwanted cars. And it gives 75% of its revenue to charity. 24-year-old Tom Chance started the company from his bedroom last year, putting off a high-paid job in the City of London. In just 12 months, he's already raised over 200,000 pounds for charity. (SOUNDBITE)(English) FOUNDER AND MD OF GIVEACAR, TOM CHANCE, SAYING: "When you're running a social enterprise, you can see the tangible benefits your social enterprise creates. We get really, really good feedback from both our donors and our charities. And it's really refreshing actually to have that, and to get that on a day-to-day basis, which I wouldn't get in the City." The firm's donated 9000 pounds to a charity helping disabled children. Among them is 16-year-old Josh, who was left in a coma after a car crash last November. Two months of therapy later, he's learning to talk and move again. (SOUNDBITE)(English) 16-YEAR-OLD CAR CRASH VICTIM, JOSH, SAYING: "They help me walk, and help me swim." But now UK budget cuts could spell an uncertain future for the work of the Children's Trust. Public funds make up three quarters of the charity's finances. And if those dry up, its work could be under threat. Fundraising director Liz Haigh-Reeve thinks social enterprises like Giveacar can help to fill that gap. (SOUNDBITE)(English) CHILDREN'S TRUST FUNDRAISING DIRECTOR, LIZ HAIGH-REEVE, SAYING: "We don't know the full impact of the government spending cuts yet. We know it's not going to be good news, and everyone is tightening their belts. So we have the double pressure -- statutory funding likely to be under extreme pressure and we have our supporters under their own financial pressure, and looking at their own budgets and perhaps struggling to maintain the level of charitable donations they've done in the past. So social enterprises are increasingly important for us." (PIECE TO CAMERA) Over the past decade here in the UK, most social innovation has meant subcontracting from the public sector to private companies. But now with cuts across government, there's less money to go around. And Prime Minister David Cameron is hoping social entrepreneurs will pick up the pieces. Ruairidh Villar, Reuters.

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UK business crushes cars for charity

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 02:31