Here at Zipcar, we love to lend a helping hand.  In fact, we like to give a Big Hand.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Big Hand, it’s something we do at Zipcar: we choose three charities, and help support them by sending some of our troops over to them for some voluntary work. We asked you to suggest potential charities that we could partner with (of which you gave us over 50!) After we had a list of all our top candidates, we held an internal vote to decide which charities we would most like to help. These ended up being:

-          Shelter from the Storm. A shelter for the homeless.

-          Vauxhall City Farm. A piece of the countryside right here in central London.

-          Wimbledon Food Bank. Providing emergency food when it’s needed.

Our employees also selected this charity as one that they would like to go and help:

-          Wimbledon Guild Fair. Helping raise money for its many schemes.

Zipcar has always been eager to be involved in charity work. Sometimes people would write to us asking for a few vans for a couple of hours to help a charity move its stock, which we would give to them with a smile. However, there was little structure to these types of requests, and we wanted to change that. And so the Big Hand was born. We wanted to give all of our employees one day off per year to go and volunteer at one of our selected charities, and we wanted the process of making it happen so simple and easy that everybody would want to get involved. However, we didn’t stop there. To make sure that everyone at Zipcar would want to fulfil their day of volunteering, we decided that if, for any reason, there was a different charity that somebody wanted to help, we would let them arrange it so that they could go to this charity of their choice. Wimbledon Guild Fair is a good example of one of these employee-chosen charity events; we’re not partnered with them, but as a local cause, our staff really wanted to help them out.

Shelter from the Storm

Shelter from the Storm is the only place of its kind in London; a free homeless shelter. They open seven nights a week, 52 weeks a year. Being a registered charity, with no help from the government, they rely heavily on donations and volunteers to keep doing their amazing work.  They provide hot meals at breakfast and dinner, as well as having 36 beds, 18 for men and 18 for women each night.

Vauxhall City Farm

Vauxhall City Farm is as unique as it is fun, described as “an oasis in the hustle and bustle of London” and “a small piece of the Norfolk countryside moved to Central London”. Free to enter and open Wednesday to Sunday, they provide services in the form of education, recreational and therapeutic assistance, plus activities such as school trips, workshops, gardening and birthday parties, and they still find time to let people ride the horses. As a charity, again, they need donations and volunteers to keep doing what they do so well.

Wimbledon Food Bank

Wimbledon Food Bank does incredibly important work, giving emergency food, and counselling to those who need it most. The donations and volunteers from the public make this organisation able to keep doing the work that they do. Volunteering roles here include giving out the emergency food, and meeting people to help begin to talk to them, and signpost them to people who can help them sort out the longer term problem. With over 200 people needing emergency food per month, including families with children, the big hand really helps them keep on top of things.

Each tin is dated and distributed – closer dates go out soonerEach tin is dated and distributed – closer dates go out soonerFamily boxes ready to go out


Wimbledon Guild Fair

Wimbledon Guild Fair was a huge event put together by Wimbledon Guild this year. With over 30,000 people in attendance, it can be viewed as nothing short of an overwhelming success. The Wimbledon Guild help out with a whole range of things and always need volunteers to get involved. They have distributed over £19,000 in the form of small grants, as well as providing 4,500 counselling sessions in their time as a charity. When the Zipcar team went to volunteer at the Wimbledon Guild Fair, they helped raise a huge £1359 through their champagne tent.

So that’s what we do. We try to give our partner charities (and any others) extra support when they need it. If you would like to volunteer with any of our partnered charities please visit their websites below.


Helping the communities our cars are parked in. Zipcar’s Big Hand.


To find out what our volunteers, as well as the charities themselves had to say about our partnerships, click here.

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