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Written by Steve Walker
on September 01, 2020

Bill Boorman increased food deliveries by 64%, reduced operational time by 20% and saw his donations increase 300% by tracking team activity on the ground.

This customer success story follows Bill Boorman’s journey during Covid as he battled to get food and supplies to the homeless in Northampton, UK during lockdown. He used Task to understand what was really going on in the operation, which resulted in a number of game changing outcomes including:

  • 64% increase of food delivered within a fixed timeframe using the same size team
  • 300% increase in donations from individuals supporting his cause

Introduction - meet Bill

Christmas 2019 - and Bill Boorman, long-time advisor to tech companies in the HR and Recruitment space who (pre-lockdown) spent most of his time plane-hopping to talk at conferences, found himself working with a Charity in Northampton, UK.

 

He felt it was time to put aside his anger and frustration at post-election Government policy (that only exacerbates the diversion between the top and bottom earners in the UK) - his Facebook rants could only go so far, and so he decided that working on the ground directly was the answer. It was a positive way to channel his passion around poverty as a whole, especially food banks and the harm caused by zero hour contracts.

And so on Christmas day he provided his time to support a charity event serving food to the homeless community. Just doing this one event opened his eyes to the scale of the challenge.

Rough sleeper meal distribution

Bill explains how local councils typically evaluate homeless numbers "The official count is conducted once a year, and sets the council guidelines over homeless in the borough. The count is a physical count in a single night, where numbers are collated from people seen bedded down in "rough sleeper" environments. The count recorded 26.

During lockdown, over 100 people were identified as rough sleepers and housed in hotel accommodation.

The data collected via Task, along with other sources means an additional 40 plus are now believed to be rough sleeping on any given night. The revised number means resourcing, established poverty charities and other regulatory services are now recognising this revised level."

The Covid lockdown

Bill began volunteering during the week of the lockdown which in a 7 day span saw unprecedented scale as the need to provide food increased.

"Soup kitchens had closed. There was a feeling of fear within the homeless communities - for example, there were rumours that the Police might be rounding them up anytime to lock them inside warehouses”

Key challenges and objectives

“The disruption caused by Covid meant there were undefined rules, no structure, the systems that were feeding people disappeared overnight just when they needed them the most!"

 

Bill found himself and the team facing major challenges “It was a Red Cross situation! It was crisis management. The disruption caused by Covid meant there were undefined rules, no structure, the systems that were feeding people disappeared overnight [i.e. soup kitchens] just when they needed them the most!

We had homeless people with a fear of authority not wanting to comply with the directive to live in the hotels, combined with other individuals making themselves homeless just to try to get into these hotels. It was mayhem.”

Bill goes on to explain his objectives:

“While I began my journey looking to show people respect and give them a little dignity, as Covid hit our revised objectives became clear. Find a way to feed as many people as possible in an environment where gathering of 6 people or more is not allowed, to people who don’t keep time, and who are actively hiding themselves through fear of being locked up by the Police”.

How Task helped

“Prior to using Task, we had been very reactive, making finger in the air decisions, basing tactics on what happened the day before.

Bill Boorman Food Reports to Donors

Once I started collecting the data around what we were doing, everything changed - I could predict what we needed, and I could optimise our operations, looking at route planning and how we could better get supplies to the people we were supporting.

"Suddenly we had a predictive stock and running of inventory, we knew who the people were, could liaise with the council to make them aware of who was out there, and work to get the right advice and support to these rough sleepers."

 

Suddenly we had a predictive stock and running of inventory, we knew who the people were, could liaise with the council to make them aware of who was out there, and work to get the right advice and support to these rough sleepers. The more data I had, the more I could find the patterns!”

The story is in the data

“Task helped me to become super efficient operationally - and all the data I gathered became the story I could share with my donors. When you know what you need to buy, you know what you need to raise, and so I always became a week or two ahead of the game”

The results

Bill Boorman Food Delivery Infographic

“The data let us find so many better ways of doing things. We massively increased the food we got to people in the same space of time, I could track mileage and optimise routing, we saw a huge increase in the individual donations as I started to share out our daily impact statistics, and this all happened with a reduction in the amount of administration time I had to invest as we switched to real-time tracking methods using the Task mobile app.”

Why Bill recommends Task

"We massively increased the food we got to people in the same space of time, I could track mileage and optimise routing, we saw a huge increase in the individual donations"

 

What's next for Bill?

As lockdown has eased, Bill is looking to the future. The whole experience has left him wanting to dedicate more time to helping the homeless.

Bill explains “Providing meals is like sticking on plasters, it was needed during the lockdown crisis but it’s not a long term solution. My interest now is less about food and temporary housing, but how individuals can find sustainable housing to set up long term lives.”

Bill has now joined forces with The Hope Centre Northampton to expand his work helping homeless communities and at Task we’re working with Bill and his team to increase the impact of the new initiatives.

The story is always in the data. It’s been rewarding for us to work with Bill and an inspiration to see how simple on the ground tracking had such a huge impact on the number of lives Bill could support.

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