“Fecske” (Swallow Bird) charity shop and network is a social enterprise initiated and implemented by the Live Consciously Association in one of the most disadvantaged regions in Hungary. It provides access to quality products at an affordable price for people in poverty.
The mission of the Live Consciously Association is “to prevent the children whose parents were formerly in foster care from being taken into state care” through providing complex support for families in poverty as well as youth in foster care. The Association was established in 2000 and initially implemented prevention programmes in different regions of Hungary.
In 2017, the first charity shop was opened in southern Hungary, in Kecskemét, providing job opportunities for a young adult formerly in foster care. Currently, the Association is focusing on North-East Hungary and opened a charity shop in Tiszadob, in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County.
The goal of the Association is to launch a rural charity shop network and fair in the surrounding disadvantaged settlements of Tiszadob. The network will secure employment for the beneficiaries and provide access to second-hand products including white goods and furniture at an affordable price, helping to improve the quality of life of the local community. Moreover, any profit generated by the shops and fairs will be used to help families in need.
Based on the business plan developed in the Hatchery Programme, Badur Trustees awarded a grant to the Association as a 50% contribution towards the purchase of a van, as well as professional support to help them to develop a rural charity shop and fair network. Moreover, the Trustees awarded an extra grant to develop their PR and marketing activities through creating a communication strategy and improving the branding of the charity shop.
The first new charity shop was opened in the neighbouring Tiszadada in November 2020. The initial revenue was lower than expected due to the COVID-19 situation, along with less local awareness of the Association. As time progressed, the shop became more and more known and it has successfully operated ever since. Further expansion was halted due to a lack of management capacity. The management team is currently focusing on building a new charitable organisation (Firestarter Association – supported in the Foundation’s Resilience Programme).
All in all, the aggregate outputs and outcomes of the project have been very positive:
- 200+ tons second-hand products were reused
- 2000+ people were provided access to quality second-hand products at an affordable price
- 16 people with a foster care background were employed over the years (with funds from public employment and additional wage supplements)
- 90+ beneficiary families were supported via shop profits (3+ million HUF spent on crisis management and mentoring programmes).