Premier Inn has partnered with humanitarian aid charity Hope and Aid Direct to donate and convoy up to 2,000 mattresses to support people impacted by the war in Ukraine.

The partnership, which supports Premier Inn’s longstanding Force for Good sustainability strategy, follows 50,000 duvet and pillow sets already donated to those affected by events in Turkey as well as Ukraine plus a £500,000 commitment by parent company Whitbread to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Empowered by the business, the project was the brainchild of Supply Chain Manager Nathan Philip, who identified an opportunity to align Premier Inn’s bed replacement scheme – believed to be the biggest of its kind in UK history – with the firm’s longstanding Force for Good sustainability strategy.

As part of the project many of Premier Inn’s suppliers were harnessed to donate, store and deliver the items ahead of donation to shelters.

“When Ukraine was invaded, we were going through our bedding replacement programme, upgrading tens of thousands of duvets and pillows – as well as all of the mattresses across our hotels,” said Nathan. “While the mattresses were at the end of their commercial life, they weren’t at the end of their useful life, so we identified an opportunity to donate them to people displaced by the war”.

To ensure successful delivery, Premier Inn, in partnership with Hope and Aid Direct and Ukraine-based charitable partner Ukraine on Palms worked closely to surmount the many logistical challenges associated with donating large items to a war zone. 

“Hope and Aid is a bridge between corporates and charities – we take aid, not sides. But when it comes to giving aid, many companies don’t know where to start as humanitarian aid logistics aren’t as simple as they seem,” said Charles Storer MBE, Head of Operations, Hope and Aid Direct. “Most of our relationships with businesses are through third party organisations, but we have a unique relationship with Premier Inn in that we work directly with them to form a plan of action to quickly get those things where they need to be. We started out with the duvets and pillow sets, and now the mattresses are a very welcome continuation of our partnership, which will help people in unimaginable circumstances get a better night’s sleep. I implore other companies to follow Whitbread’s lead.”

These efforts are underlined by the unwavering commitment and strength of individuals like Alla, CEO of Ukraine on Palms, who has played a crucial role in facilitating the bedding delivery across the border to the Ukraine front line. “There are 360 people here, among them we have 86 children. They are staying in awful conditions in very tiny, tiny rooms laying on the pallets on the floor, so the demand of such double beds is high here. We are so grateful to all involved in this project you have no idea. I named this project a peaceful night because people need to have peace and a bed to sleep in at night and to have rest”. Alla’s bravery adds to the shared determination to provide essential support during this tough time, emphasising the significant impact that working together can have on those affected by the ongoing crisis.

The first convoy of Hope and Aid Direct trucks filled with the mattresses left for Ukraine led by Charles and supported by a team of volunteers during the summer with stops made to pick up more items at Premier Inn hotels in Germany. Deliveries will continue throughout 2024.

Whitbread’s Force for Good strategy is geared round a simple ethos – the business strives to be a Force for Good in everything it does and cares about the communities it serves and the world around it. From donating surplus food to communities in need to Net Zero targets, the owner of the UK’s biggest hotel chain is proud to be setting industry-leading goals.

If you’ve been inspired by the convoy and would like to help people in Ukraine, Hope and  Aid Direct have donation points across the UK – to find out more click here.

Watch the convoy.