Library of equipment used by charities gets new home thanks to a local business

A caretaker is celebrating after the library of charity equipment he looks after was given a bigger home with help from a Hull business.

Keith Parker

Retired serviceman Keith Parker has carefully managed HEY Smile Foundation’s Vault, at Armadillo Storage, in Spyvee Street, Hull, for seven years, but as stocks have grown so has Keith’s need for a new home.

The Vault contains important equipment used to help charities raise and save money.

Instead of cramming everything from giant Jenga to chairs, tables and audio equipment into 232 square feet, Keith will now have the luxury of 980 square feet, accessible just off Hull’s A63. Corporate partner Umber Creative has agreed to rent the space to Smile at a reduced rate making the move possible. 

Keith said: “Being able to move The Vault is brilliant for me and the charity. I will get a little lobby, with my own tea-making facilities and we will have lots more room, which we desperately need.”

The retired Royal Engineer has been stowing the stock in every nook and cranny, as well as fashioning shelving in out-of-the-way places to keep things in order as stocks grew.

Keith turns 70 this year, but charities who know and value Keith will be glad to know that he has no plan to put his feet up yet.

He said: “I love The Vault, it really helps charities put on events that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to and I really enjoy meeting people and hearing about how their events went.”

Kevin Wilkie, Creative Director of Umber Creative, said he was pleased to help Keith and The Vault. He explained: “Umber Creative has a long history of working within the charitable and not-for-profit arena and letting this space to The Vault feels like a really good fit. We have supported Smile for a number of years, it is a bit of a no-brainer because you can be sure that what you give filters through to people and charities that need it most.”

Smile runs a range of projects, all of which help to improve health and happiness in the region. One of the projects involves supporting charities to help them be the best they can be and the Vault is an extension of this work.

The move was made possible by a team of volunteers from Balfour Beatty, who decorated the new home and made it ready by fitting racking as well as providing the muscle to move the gear. 

Michaela Maunders, Customer Lead at the company, said: “At Balfour Beatty, we always go above and beyond to engage with the local communities in which we operate. We’re delighted to have supported HEY Smile Foundation in transforming The Vault’s new home, which we hope will aid their journey to improve lives in the region of Hull.”

Gareth Meyrick, Community Producer from HEY Smile Foundation, said: “We are really pleased that Keith and the Vault have a new home and we are really grateful to Umber Creative for making this space available and to Balfours for making the move easy. The Vault is at capacity and this is a bigger space.  

“This equipment is extremely important to the charities that use it. It saves charities from spending money on hire costs and it helps them put on events and raise money that they can use for the greater good. You cannot underestimate the financial benefit the Vault brings to charities. Last year we managed 386 orders and we hired 4,568 items. This year we will do everything we can to help charities that we know are struggling more than ever because of the Cost of Living Crisis.”

John Colley, from Armadillo Storage, said: “The Vault will be sorely missed, but we have been very glad to offer them space for free and then at a charitable rate for very nearly ten years. Smile is a fantastic charity that has a can-do attitude, which is brilliant.”

The Vault has two smaller branches, The Bridlington Borrow Box and the Driffield Share Station.

To find out more about the Bridlington Borrow Box, visit

To find out more about the Driffield Share Station, please contact David Tite: or 07968 628725

To access the Vault in Hull, visit