After winning the Malta Social Impact Awards in 2021 (recently rebranded and relaunched as Changemakers), Inspire Foundation was awarded €50,000 in funds to support its ambitious project that aimed to professionally organise its Thrift Shops.

One of the first investments with these funds was for Inspire Foundation to lease a large warehouse in Qormi that is currently being used to sort, store, steam, and barcode items for sale in its Thrift Shops.

The aim is also to provide a better-quality product for the Thrift Shop clients, particularly those more at risk of poverty, increase the level of recycling and upcycling, therefore also ensuring its operations are green, all while creating employment opportunities for persons with disability. Ultimately, increased revenue from the Inspire Give and Take Thrift Shops are re-invested into Inspire’s disability services, contributing towards the Foundation’s mission, which is to empower and support individuals with disabilities by providing them with the necessary tools and resources to achieve their full potential.

During the project pitch, prior to winning the funds, Claire Galea, Fundraising – Corporates at Inspire Foundation, explained how there are over 80,000 individuals around Malta and Gozo at risk of poverty, and how Inspire’s Thrift Shops could serve as a safe space for these people to be able to purchase products they need for every-day living without putting themselves into worse financial situations.

She spoke about Joan*, a mother of two and a customer of Inspire’s Charity Shops. Joan was facing financial difficulties and upon discovering Inspire’s Thrift Shops, she viewed them as a temporary solution to ensure that both she and her children had access to items necessary for their quality of life and also to feel on par with their peers. By purchasing affordable and good-quality clothing, books, toys, and household appliances, Joan and her children could maintain their standard of living with dignity. However, Joan sometimes encountered difficulty in finding specific items, and her story and similar experiences of other customers motivated Inspire Foundation’s ambitious project.

The funds won through Changemakers (previously known as MSIA) helped greatly as they covered just under 50% of the project costs. This allowed Inspire Foundation to lease a warehouse that is now being used to ensure that donated items are prepared for sale in the best condition possible. The Qormi warehouse also serves as a shop. Additionally the Marsascala shop was refurbished and a new shop was opened in Hamrun.

This project, that ended up costing the Foundation a total of €123,000 has made it possible for Inspire Foundation to provide a better service to its existing clients, and also provided it with the possibility to reach more and more persons in need and give them a service with dignity.

“Winning the MSIA fund has given us a golden opportunity to strengthen our service and ensure that persons at risk of poverty can also live a dignified life, without having to deprive themselves of basic things just because they’re unaffordable when newly purchased. We hope that this investment continues to reach more and more people and support with sustaining the free services that greatly help people with a variety of disabilities within our community,” said Luke Montebello, Retail Operation Manager at Inspire Foundation.

“Inspire Foundation has proven that by having a clear strategy and sustainable plan, the initiative can not only help a large number of people but also create revenue for the Foundation. It’s great to see what a long way the funds awarded have gone, not just helping the organisation itself but helping them help so many other people. It has been a pleasure partnering with Inspire Foundation, their hard work, professionalism and drive have allowed them to achieve so much and we are proud to be part of their impact,” Vanessa Azzopardi, Project Manager, Changemakers.

*Name has been changed to safeguard anonymity