The Wall of Hope brings donors and citizen in need together, creating a flow of excess products into circulation.
The exceptional situation of Covid-19 has made the lives of many families more difficult, as more and more families are affected by unemployment and financial difficulties.
Trio shopping center and the third sector association Hope collaborated with citizens as their main stakeholder. The practice is based on a sharing economy that promotes social welfare and a positive environmental impact. Citizens were urged to bring unnecessary, undamaged, and clean children's clothes, shoes, toys, and children's sports equipment to the wall. In turn, those in need could directly take the goods from the wall, in high hopes that the items go to the real need.
Hope assisted in 2019, nationwide 8,951 families and assisted 22,190 children. Hope association was founded in 2008 by two ordinary mothers to help children and families, offering goods, donations and hobbies to low-income families and foster care children. Hope has nationwide over 700 volunteers in 2020; however, only ten active volunteers in Lahti. Thus far, in 2020, around 210 families and 500 children received help from Hope in Lahti.
Duration: The wall of Hope was active in Trio shopping centre, visible and free of access to Lahti citizens. The sharing economy experiment lasted 25.6.2020-3.10.2020, with a couple of inactive weeks in between.
Trio shopping centre designed, provided and sponsored the wall, Hope promoted the practice to Lahti citizens and families in need. Donations, maintenance and upkeep were completely self-sufficient by active citizens.
Evidence of success
The Wall of Hope campaign lasted longer than anticipated because of its positive feedback and citizens keen interest in the practice. The successful practice mobilized citizens into actively joining sharing economy practices. There are no measures or estimation of the number of goods that were exchanged. However, every feedback collected from Trio shopping centre tenants and the citizens were positive. Many asked for its return date instantly after the removal.
There might be room for interpretation when using the term "good conditioned" items. Some broken and dirty items were often found on the wall. Sadly, there was insufficient media coverage and knowledge of the ongoing practice.
Potential for learning or transfer
Although it was carried out in a local shopping centre, it doesn´t need to be held in private premises; it can well be adapted and organized by public authorities and located in public spaces e.g libraries, city hall and adult education centres.
A potential obstacle to a transfer is how to reach the citizens. The key success factors are location and awareness-raising. The Wall of Hope was carried out through third sector association Hope that reached families of need in Lahti. Hope informed on social media about the practice.
Trio shopping centre belongs to the Citycon group which collaborated with Hope on implementing the experiment in 5 other cities in Finland with local Hope associations during summer 2020. A similar campaign was previously organized in Sweden's Citycon shopping centres, the campaign implemented was called "Wall of Kindness" and collaborated with the local church. A similar practice was implemented in Ostrava, reported by the CECI regional partner in 2020.