We’re proud to announce that Neighbourly has been awarded the 2022 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, established in 1965, are the most prestigious business awards in the UK - so it is a privilege to be amongst those recognised by the awards for their contribution within key categories such as International Trade, Innovation, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity through Social Mobility.
The awards celebrate the success of exciting and innovative businesses which are leading the way with pioneering products or services, delivering impressive social mobility programmes or showing their commitment to excellent sustainable development practices.
Steve Butterworth, CEO at Neighbourly said: “It’s an absolute honour for Neighbourly to have been recognised with a Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
“The last few years have been incredibly tough for local communities and businesses alike. To have been able to grow a technology solution that has helped organisations to have a positive impact at a local level during this time is testament to a changing world in which being a successful business is being one that is a force for good.”
The Innovation award recognises businesses that demonstrate strong commercially successful innovative products or services with the application covering all elements of business including sustainability, social value, technical development and profitability.
For Neighbourly this encompassed some of the company’s biggest achievements - from becoming one of the UK’s founding B Corps and partnering with M&S to launch the platform's first food surplus redistribution programme in 2015, to launching the £1.2M Community Fund in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and closing of a £3M round of Series A investment in March 2021.
Achievements aside, it’s equally if not more important for us to recognise the people and organisations that we would not have been able to do this without.
Steve adds: “Huge thanks must go not only to our corporate partners and investors, whose unwavering commitment to social and environmental impact in local communities has enabled us to build and scale an award-winning technology platform, but to our 20,000+ network of local good causes and our talented team who make critical local impact possible every day.”
Local good causes are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the compounding impacts of an economic crisis in the UK and global effects of the war in Ukraine.
With UK inflation at its highest since the 90s, the cost of energy and basic supplies rising out of control and the Ukraine war displacing millions, there is almost no one left untouched to some degree - with local good causes facing another sharp rise in demand as hundreds of thousands face the prospect of falling into poverty across the UK and Ireland.
The UK's Spring Budget, which presented an opportunity to introduce measures of support for those on low-incomes caused further frustration amongst anti-poverty campaigners. Dr Silvia Galandini, Domestic Poverty Lead at Oxfam told the Big Issue: “By only increasing benefits to 3.1 per cent – half the rate of inflation – [Rishi Sunak] has effectively cut benefits twice now in six months, risking an additional 400,000 people being pulled into poverty.”
This March, over 1,300 causes completed the Neighbourly Community Survey - sharing the impact of the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine on their local communities and the people they support.
In the last 3 months, local good causes told us they are each supporting an average of 378 people per week. This represents an increase of 160% since March 2020 - and is expected to increase further in the coming months. To add to this, around 44% reported that they have seen a drop in charity income in the past 3 months.
“The rising cost of fuel to a rurally situated charity is painful”
As a result of growing concerns, 82% said they would welcome an emergency grant to help them deal with a rise in fuel, food and living costs and the impact of the war in Ukraine.
The rise in energy prices was cited as the greatest concern, with one small charity telling us: "The rising cost of fuel to a rurally situated charity is painful. We agreed a charity staff pay rise for the new financial year – but it has been swallowed up with the rise in heating, fuel and basic staples.”
Capacity for growth
The impact of this growing crisis is already taking its toll. Since we last surveyed our good causes in the wake of the last set of Covid-19 restrictions, their sentiment score for their current situation has dropped further - representing decreased optimism for their organisation and the people they support.
Despite this, local good causes remain resilient in the face of adversity and are still working hard to overcome challenges, many with capacity to receive further support across financial donations, surplus food and products, and volunteer help from businesses.
A future for all
Whilst the cost of living crisis continues to push people into poverty, and the war in Ukraine creates displacement for millions now seeking refuge across Europe, we need to be able to keep our local community causes not just afloat but thriving so that they are able to respond.
Local good causes have consistently demonstrated their ability to stand in where welfare leaves people stranded - but many local services are being stretched to breaking point.
In one of the wealthiest countries on Earth it seems inconceivable that so many households are needing to choose between heating or eating, small charities are needing to provide emergency aid and there remain no clear government policies for eradicating poverty.
In response, Neighbourly’s Emergency Fund is welcoming business donations which can be facilitated via the Neighbourly Foundation to support good causes and help tackle the impact of the cost of living crisis and humanitarian crisis.
Our Emergency Fund will look to help plug the gap for these charitable organisations, so they can fulfil their role of strengthening and supporting local communities. More details about our Emergency Fund can be found by clicking the 'Learn more' button below.
Millions are facing a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, with 12M at risk of becoming internally displaced. Meanwhile the UK is seeing an unprecedented cost of living crisis with fuel poverty predicted to double in 2022.
At Neighbourly, we believe that together we have the power to help. In the wake of a new crisis, at a scale we've never seen before, we are calling for businesses to offer their support, to ensure our local communities can face the future with renewed resilience to help those who need it most - from the UK to Ukraine.
There are currently 20,000 good causes registered on the Neighbourly platform, across the UK and Ireland.
34% are already supporting asylum-seekers or refugees, or supporting communities affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
97% believe the cost of living and energy prices will have a significant impact on their organisation and beneficiaries.
Charitable organisations are expecting a 30% rise in demand in the next 3 months.
Launch of a new Emergency Fund
In response, we are launching a new Community Fund for the cost-of-living crisis and Ukraine support which will be managed by the Neighbourly Foundation.
All businesses will be able to use the Neighbourly platform at no cost to make a donation to the Emergency Fund.
All donations made to this Emergency Fund will be disbursed as micro-grants to local good causes registered on the Neighbourly platform that are supporting with the Ukrainian crisis, refugees and capacity building for the UK's cost-of-living crisis.
This December Neighbourly has launched a film to celebrate and thank its corporate partners and the thousands of good causes that work tirelessly to support their local communities over the festive season and year round.
Winter can be a difficult time for the most vulnerable in our local communities - with small charities and causes often seeing a big spike in demand.
It’s a time where staff and volunteers alike work extra hard to make sure their communities are fed and supported over the Christmas period.
One month, 4M meals
During December alone, fourteen partners will donate over 4M meals worth of surplus food, 28,000 books, £300,000 in grants and 350 hours of employee volunteering.
A recent survey of over 1,200 small charities and local good causes in Neighbourly’s network has highlighted a rise in demand as the biggest concern this winter.
Whilst demand overall appears to be just over 2% higher than this time last year, with causes supporting an average of 372 people per week, it is 24% up from mid way through the first wave of the pandemic in June 2020 when the average figure was 299 per week.
Similar patterns have emerged from the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest network of food banks, where its CEO Emma Revie recently told the Guardian: “Food banks in our network continue to see more and more people facing destitution” - after finding that their network had seen an 11% rise in winter demand when compared to the same period in 2019.
"More families are struggling to put on decent meals for the family during the Christmas holidays"
In particular for food banks in the Neighbourly network, a huge 92% believe that this will be their busiest Christmas on record. For many of the good causes with the highest concerns around demand, the story is the same. Families struggling with the impacts of the pandemic and rising costs of living simply can’t afford the basic pleasures of Christmas that many others take for granted.
Simple Norfolk is a charitable organisation providing services and volunteering opportunities to young people. Charity Director, Carla Barreto, said : “More families are struggling to put on decent meals for the family during the Christmas holidays. At the peak of winter with fuel costs and additional holiday spending, many just do not have enough money left for food.”
Compounding the concern is financial stability - the second greatest challenge for small charities and good causes, after rising demand. Almost half of respondents said they have seen a drop in income in the past 3 months, whilst two-thirds also expect demand to continue to rise in the next three months. Around 20% think the rise could be over 50% on current levels.
For Moorlands Community Charity, which supports older people, young people and those experiencing social isolation, funding is especially needed at Christmas to support those who might otherwise go without.
"We provide a great deal of social activities for adults, children, families and young people that would not normally have the means to access these," says Jacky Crawford, CEO at Moorlands. "We also provide Christmas presents to children and young people and our food bank is particularly busy as many can't afford food at Christmas."
With the £20 Universal Credit uplift now removed, 86% of causes are concerned about the impact this will have on their organisation and the community they operate in. The end of the furlough scheme and rising gas prices are also sources of concern, with 62% very or extremely concerned about the impact of increased fuel costs. What’s more, 69% are very or extremely worried about access to sufficient nutritious food for the people they support.
These economic concerns are all the more worrying for good causes that support local communities experiencing the highest levels of poverty and deprivation, where their services are critical for the health and wellbeing needs of the people they help.
"People have been struggling all year"
"Many people in the community are unemployed, working poor or have had their furlough payments come to an end," confirms Maureen Chaseley of The Marketplace community larder, for which this is the first Christmas they have been able to open since the start of the pandemic.
Yvie Bernett at Chirk Community Agent adds: "People have been struggling all year and are now being hit with reductions in universal credit and removal of furlough payments at the same time as prices are rising rapidly - particularly fuel and food costs."
An emotional toll
As a result, frontline charities and community causes are feeling the pressure. As part of this quarter’s survey we asked causes to rate how they are feeling at the moment. Using the net promoter score (NPS) framework to create a sentiment score which ranges from a low of -100 to a high of +100, we found the result was -33. Anything under a score of 0 is painting a negative picture.
When we asked a similar question about how causes feel things are for the local communities and the people they are supporting, the average score dropped to -77.
For secondary schools, where concern for the impact of the pandemic on teenage pupils is naturally evident, the score was -100. Similarly, mental health charities which are looking after some of the country’s most vulnerable people, reported this measure as -89.
As our previous survey conducted in early summer 2021 showed, mental health remains number one on the list of concerns when it comes to beneficiaries - with three quarters rating it as either very or extremely concerning.
Prioritising community impact
Charities and good causes operating at a local level are performing vital work and have stepped in to deliver front-line services that go way beyond their pre-pandemic remit at a time when traditional methods of generating income have been disrupted.
Many local charities have been forced to do more with less during the last two years and have demonstrated phenomenal agility and creativity - drawing upon local knowledge, resources and goodwill to deliver what communities truly need, and fast.
As a result, the need for financial support is greater than ever, particularly in light of the uncertainties of new Covid variants and the threat of further lock-downs. In the last six months alone, Neighbourly has disbursed over £1m in local community grants through partnerships with Sainsbury’s and Virgin Media O2, which has been amazing. This is in addition to support from Southern Co-op, RSA, Aldi, M&S, Lidl, Cadent, Coca-Cola EP, Danone, giffgaff, Heineken and the B&Q Foundation.
Businesses like these have huge potential to make a difference to local communities whilst meeting their own CSR and ESG objectives - linking up with the good causes that have the local knowledge and connections to make the biggest impact, at scale.
Today is Giving Tuesday - an international day where people are encouraged to take something positive from the year and make a difference by giving back to charity.
This Christmas is expected to be one of the busiest yet for the food banks, good causes and community groups looking after those most in need in our local communities - with rising fuel costs and the removal of the Universal Credit uplift tipping more families and vulnerable people into crisis.
Here at Neighbourly, we’ve been working with businesses like Aldi, Samsung, Sainsbury’s and Heineken to help them make a difference this festive season.
To celebrate Giving Tuesday, we’re highlighting some of these giving campaigns to help share what is being done - along with some tips on how individuals can offer a helping hand in their communities too.
Aldi - 1.8M meals
With a little help from Kevin the Carrot and Marcus Radishford, Aldi has pledged to donate a huge 1.8M meals through the festive season, made up of surplus food donations to the causes that are linked to individual stores, as well as financial donations to causes supporting families.
You can hear more about Aldi’s pledge (and see the Neighbourly delivery cart!) in their pun-tastic Christmas ad.
As well as Aldi’s individual pledge, supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Lidl and M&S will continue to run their food surplus redistribution programme through the Neighbourly platform - donating thousands of meals worth of food over the festive period, with extra donations on Christmas eve and New Year’s eve.
Christmas is often a time when people consider giving back by volunteering. But through Neighbourly’s employee volunteering programmes, staff from the likes of Danone, Samsung, Cocacola EP, Cadent and M&G have been offering their spare time to local good causes throughout the year. As we enter winter, many are encouraging even more employees to get involved and make a difference.
Staff at M&G will be partnering with causes supporting those experiencing loneliness and isolation this Christmas - taking part in Covid-safe card and letter writing to boost people’s wellbeing and make them feel cared for.
Meanwhile Cadent’s new social value volunteering scheme, launched this November, will see employees volunteering on everything from packing festive food parcels and restoring peatlands to transforming spaces into hubs for education.
As the UK’s leading pub, cider and beer business, Heineken is a passionate supporter of the great British pub and the important role pubs play in communities all around the UK.
Following a pause during the pandemic, Brewing Good Cheer is now in its fifth year, and is one the longest running community giving campaigns Heineken has run through the Neighbourly platform.
This year’s Brewing Good Cheer programme will see Heineken working with their pubs and with 140 good causes and their beneficiaries to support people that have experienced social isolation in the last year.
Penguin Book Donations
Since 2020, Penguin has been donating books to good causes, community groups and food banks to help provide equal access to reading.
So far Penguin has donated over 120,000 books and they are not stopping there. The publisher has already connected with a number of causes through the Neighbourly platform and will be donating hundreds more books to supplement festive food parcels this year.
Grants and funding
On top of donating surplus food to good causes, Sainsbury’s ‘Helping Everyone Eat Better’ grants programme has been supporting hundreds of local food charities and good causes as nominated by Sainsbury’s staff. These grants will continue to be paid out through December and beyond, helping good causes meet the demand of the festive season.
But as any hard working volunteer or charity staff member will know, funding and grants offer critical sources of financial support to keep services running throughout the year. In 2021 alone, Neighbourly has facilitated a number of grant and giving programmes, partnering with the B&Q Foundation, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Heineken, Virgin Media O2, Southern Co-op, RSA, Cadent, Coca-Cola EP, Danone and M&G to distribute vital funds to local communities covering a wide range of impact themes.
How can individuals support their local communities?
As an individual, there are plenty of ways you can support local good causes and people in your community. Here are two easy things you can do this Giving Tuesday:
Make a donation
Last year, following the success of the Neighbourly Community Fund which supported over 3,000 local good causes through the Covid-19 pandemic, we set up registered charity - the Neighbourly Foundation - which continues to channel funding and grants to Neighbourly’s network of over 18,000 local good causes.
If you usually make a charitable donation on Giving Tuesday or over Christmas, but aren’t sure where best to donate this year, donating to the Neighbourly Foundation is a great way to ensure you are helping local communities and people in need across the UK and Ireland - supporting everything from mental health services to food poverty and homelessness.
In addition, if you're an M&S Sparks member or card holder, you can set the Neighbourly Foundation as your charity of choice. Then, for every purchase you make at M&S, a donation will be made.
On your next trip to the supermarket, don’t forget to buy an item or two to pop in one of the many customer donation points available at Aldi, Lidl and Southern Co-op.
Aldi’s donation points also accept items from any brand of supermarket, so are perfect for those unopened and in-date dry goods and tins you might have in your cupboards that would otherwise go unused.
You can also donate directly to your local food bank or community group. Use the Neighbourly search function to find your nearest good cause. Those running campaigns for donations of food or gifts often share exactly what they need most via social channels like Facebook - so don’t forget to check them out to see what’s on their wishlist.
Thanks for getting involved in Giving Tuesday. To find out the latest Neighbourly news this Christmas and beyond, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
This month the B&Q Foundation hit a milestone £1.3M in funds donated to local good causes.
Through a Neighbourly grants management programme, the B&Q Foundation has so far awarded grants of up to £5000 to over 250 registered charities that help to make life better for people in need our local communities.
From improving the safety of a home for someone with a disability, to providing residential support for people with no home of their own – the organisations it backs are making a difference to those who don’t have access to what most of us take for granted.
We caught up with five organisations, including those featured in the video below - and some of which were the first to receive a grant from the B&Q Foundation in late 2020, to find out what these vital funds have meant for them and those they support in their local communities.
The Sick Children’s Trust
Check out the video below which tells the story of B&Q Foundation’s work with The Sick Children's Trust's Eckersley House in London.
Roundabout is a youth housing charity based in Sheffield that supports young care leavers at risk of homelessness.
After receiving a £5000 grant from the B&Q Foundation, they were able to complete the refurbishment of a new property ‘Glencoe Road’ that will enable the charity to support an estimated 14 young people a year with safe and supportive move-on accommodation.
"This project will give [young people] the chance to turn their lives around”
Neil Marshall, Group Living Manager at Roundabout told us: “I feel really proud of what we’ve achieved collectively at Glencoe Road. It’s been a challenge through lockdown because of government restrictions and access to stock, but I’m really happy with the level of provision and the finish.”
Ben Keegan, CEO of Roundabout added: “This project means so much to us at Roundabout and so much to the young people who live here. The young people have had such difficult lives to get to this point. This amazing project will really give them the chance to turn their lives around.”
Woolwich Service Users Project
WSUP is a grass-roots project, run entirely by volunteers, that provides both practical and emotional support to those seeking help in the local community.
In September 2020, they were able to secure a new location in which to base their community support centre but were in need of cash to carry out vital refurbishment and repair work in order to re-open to the public.
"This is transformational for our charity and the people who benefit from our work”
Tracy Stringfellow, Chair at WSUP explained: “The B&Q Foundation’s generous grant contributed to the second phase of our capital programme for our new building. The funds enabled us to complete our decoration and the building now looks amazing.
“It has gone from a wet, leaky building with green stuff growing up the walls, to a bright, watertight space with floors. This is transformational for our charity and the people who benefit from our work.”
Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice
Northern Ireland Children's Hospice is the only service of its kind in Northern Ireland. In September 2020, they received a grant of £3,690 to help them build a Summer House in the gardens of Horizon House, their specialist hospice in Newtownabbey. This is a disability-accessible area that will help children with life-limiting conditions enjoy the outdoors and will benefit the children they look after, their families, and the Children’s Hospice staff.
The majority of the children who rely on Horizon House are immobile or are wheelchair users. They often don't have the ability to investigate and play in their surroundings like most of their peers and generally spend very little time outdoors. With this Summer House, the Hospice nurses can help them safely experience more activities outdoors, protected from the sun and other elements.
Grace Stewart, Head of Children’s Services at Northern Ireland Hospice, said: “We’d like to thank the B&Q Foundation for the funding. Being able to build our summer house is going to make a real difference to the children. We want to focus on them living each day to its fullest, and providing a space that helps the children spend more time outdoors is vital in helping them feel relaxed and comfortable while providing sensory stimulus.”
The Haven Wolverhampton
The Haven Wolverhampton supports women and children vulnerable to abuse, and homelessness. At any one time, the charity supports approximately 67 women and 100 children across Wolverhampton through anonymously located accommodation, and also supports those living in their own homes.
The B&Q Foundation gave a grant of £4,888 to the Haven to help them to furnish a new safe house property, which will increase their capacity to provide vital support for women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
While some women enjoy the communal and social benefits of a refuge, for some women, moving into shared accommodation is a huge barrier to leaving their abuser.
“Staying here has helped me sleep better as I feel safe”
“Lisa” experienced psychological and physical abuse at the hands of her husband. She was scared to wake up in the morning because the abuse started straight away. Lisa and her 11-year old daughter were living in fear and Lisa felt that moving into a shared refuge would heighten her anxiety levels. As such, she received support in a Haven safe house.
She said: “I now see a future for us and staying here has helped me sleep better as I feel safe. It has really supported me and my daughter to become independent and live a full life. We now have a quality of life that we didn’t have before. My daughter is over the moon - she has told me she loves it here.”
Sarah Abbiss, Grants Manager at the Haven said: “We are delighted that the B&Q Foundation has been able to make a grant to furnish a safe house for women and children fleeing domestic abuse. This will mean we are able to support more women and children who desperately need to escape harm's way. They will have a warm, safe, and cosy place to live and get plenty of good nights’ sleep until they are ready to take their next steps.
"They will also have access to a range of wraparound support from The Haven, such as counselling and therapies to help them to overcome the trauma of what they have experienced.”
Whilst the B&Q Foundation grants have already had a phenomenal impact so far, the fund continues to support new charities as the months go on.
Platforms like Virgin Money Giving have offered millions of charitable organisations a simple means to create fundraising campaigns and help supporters rally friends behind their cause.
But with Virgin Money Giving set to close at the end of November, many non-profits have been investigating alternatives to easily and safely raise vital funds and build a more diverse fundraising portfolio.
Fundraising can be hard work - which can make finding tools to help plug the gap seem overwhelming - particularly for small charities with less resources or groups without registered-charity status.
What does Neighbourly offer good causes and charities?
Neighbourly’s key offering for small charities and community groups comes in the form of its corporate partnerships. Neighbourly matches donations of volunteer time, surplus goods and financial grants with causes that can benefit.
The platform also offers a fundraising tool for registered charities, whereby the charity can set up a fundraising pot (or pots) and encourage supporters to donate by promoting the pot through their digital and offline channels. Neighbourly charges a small transaction fee equal to 5% of the gross donation, exclusive of any Gift Aid declaration, which covers the cost of running the service, with any residual funds going directly back into the Neighbourly Foundation charity to support Neighbourly good causes.
The Neighbourly platform itself is completely free to use for good causes and is home to a community of over 18,000 small charities and community groups across the UK and Ireland. By registering on the platform, good causes have the opportunity to:
Apply for grant funding from corporate partners throughout the year through simple and quick online application forms. Neighbourly’s corporate grant programmes support causes with everything from tackling food poverty to improving community spaces and running climate and greening projects.
Collect and redistribute surplus food and products - including fresh and dry/packaged food from local supermarkets as well as items like books and laptops. The average good cause offering a food service saves £3325 per year by collecting surplus food through Neighbourly - so it’s a great way to diversify support to your good cause.
Receive help with key projects through corporate volunteer programmes, which can be skills-based or practical help, delivered remotely or in-person. Good causes have received help with everything from mentoring, befriending and training to practical assistance with renovations, gardening and more.
Below we’ve listed four further fundraising platforms to suit small charities and community groups that include everything from easy-to-use fundraising pages to tools that can help diversify fundraising too.
The saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. So it’s useful to consider supplementary options in order to maximise fundraising and support.
Givey has been designed specifically for small charities and good causes - which represent 95% of all types of charity in the UK yet receive just 6.6% of donations.
With that, it is deliberately clean and simple to use for the purpose of setting up secure fundraising pages. As with most fundraising platforms, there is a small transaction fee associated with donations. With Givey, however, the fee is charged to donors - meaning 100% of their donation goes to the charity or cause.
Registered charities, CICs and community groups can set up a page using Givey - with the platform also offering additional means for regular promotion and updates - both digitally and at a local level.
For those looking for something close to Virgin Money Giving, Just Giving is one of the most popular platforms for setting up fundraising pages online - for charities, individuals, nonprofits and community causes.
Just Giving is a profit making business, however it does not charge charities and good causes to use the platform. That said, there is a small transaction fee per donation - and an additional small fee for registered charities receiving gift aid through the platform.
Just Giving is simple, secure and used by millions of people - a strong option for fundraising - particularly when used in combination with other tools.
BOPP offers a more alternative selection of tools via a mobile app that can allow causes to branch out and try new methods for fundraising, such as:
Creation of QR codes that can be added to posters to allow people to easily donate
BOPP paylinks that can be sent online or via messaging apps to raise funds
Instant, secure payment following donation
Ability for donors to set up regular donations (e.g. monthly)
Charities and causes can get a free 30 day trial of BOPP to see if it works for them - after which they can opt for a £10/month subscription or ‘pay as you go’ model which charges a 5% fee per donation.
B Corp certified platform, Kickstarter has a particular mission - to boost and support the creative sector - from food to music and art.
Like Neighbourly, also a certified B Corp, Kickstarter’s certification means they are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.
Kickstarter works by offering a platform to help people reach their financial goal for a project or business idea - with ‘backers’ being offered rewards for supporting the project. This can be as simple as a commemorative t-shirt or having their name on a mural wall of supporters.
Community-oriented projects that have been fully backed on Kickstarter have ranged from a community participation film to a free outdoor library box and a community street art and dance festival.
Whilst not suitable for all types of causes and projects, Kickstarter could be a solution for causes looking to launch social-good projects and spaces that need a kickstart to get going or one-off events that rely on external funding and support from the community to run.
Please note, none of the information in this blog constitutes financial advice. To stay up to date with Neighbourly news and blogs, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
At the start of October, Neighbourly partnered with Southern Co-op, RSA, Cadent, Coca-Cola EP, Danone and M&G to launch Seeds of Change - bringing both employee volunteer support and £100k worth of funding to hundreds of local greening and climate projects across the UK and Ireland.
Since then, almost half of the Seeds of Change grants have been paid to over 100 local good causes and, on top of the environmental benefit, those causes estimate the projects will bring a positive impact to a combined total of over half a million people.
With an array of different types of charities, communities and good causes involved, projects in receipt of a grant vary across a number of environmental categories - with some covering multiple types.
Check out the chart below to see the breakdown of project types so far.
Now the two weeks of COP26 is complete, the real work begins - so we caught up with a few good causes to hear about their greening and climate plans and what they hope to achieve in their local community through Seeds of Change.
Queen Alexandra College
Queen Alexandra College in Birmingham is a specialist charity for people with disabilities aged 16-25 years. With their Seeds of Change grant, they plan to build a living wall in the college grounds to build a habitat for a range of insects and pollinators.
"We hope to help raise awareness amongst our students about habitat creation and supporting local biodiversity”
Sarah Caldwell, Grants and Fundraising Manager at Queen Alexandra College tells us: “We are making a conscious effort to be green in any areas that we can be. By building a living wall along one of our larger on campus buildings, we hope to help raise awareness amongst our students about habitat creation and how we can support local biodiversity.”
St Mary’s Church
As part of community-focussed church St Mary’s mission to become a greener church, and its commitment to become an Eco Church under the A Rocha programme, they are re-wilding their churchyard in Wendover, Aylesbury.
“[We’d like to] incorporate the installation of bird boxes, a wildflower meadow and beehive”
Paul Morning, Project Lead and Chair of Climate Action Wendover explains: “This is a space that has a wonderful potential for biodiversity - and we have already invested a great deal of effort in greening the space, planting new trees and hedgerows, and creating wild spaces, bug hotels and better composting facilities.
“We will be using the Neighbourly Seeds of Change grant towards the next phase, which will incorporate the installation of bird boxes, a wildflower meadow and beehive - encouraging a greater diversity of wildlife.
“We also want to provide information signs across the churchyard to tell our many visitors what we are doing to enhance biodiversity and why. This is an important part of our work - and we hope it will engage the many generations who visit and enjoy our churchyard.”
Heart of BS13
Heart of BS13 is a local charity with impressive ambitions. By engaging local residents its ultimate aim is to transform food waste recycling in South Bristol, turning a waste management problem into an organic composting, income generating and vocational training solution and opportunity for unemployed residents.
Using the Seeds of Change grant, they will be running an artist-led climate education workshop for school age children focusing on how to recycle, reuse and repurpose household items that would otherwise be thrown away - bringing new information to children in a fun, creative and engaging way.
“We are focusing on the hearts and minds of children in BS13”
Exploring the motivation behind the project, Kirsty Hammond, Climate Action Development Practitioner at Heart of BS13 tells us: “In BS13, single use plastic waste is high and food waste is barely recycled. At Heart of BS13 we are focusing on supporting our community to take straightforward actions that can reduce waste overall by closing the food waste loop and moving away from single use plastics.
“We are focusing on the hearts and minds of children in BS13 as we know that they take what they have learned about carbon emissions and the actions that everyone can make, back to their homes and use 'pester power' to change behaviours within the household.”
Tree Action UK CIC
[Photo Credit: Adieu & Worthing Council]
TreeAction UK is a community interest company in Hove that organises tree planting projects on school grounds, as well as working with local authorities to take students to local parks.
The grant they have received from Seeds of Change will enable them to help them to work with children to plant 60 new trees at a local school - as the plan below shows.
Ricky Purnell, Director of TreeAction UK explains: “Planting a wide variety of trees promotes biodiversity whilst acting to offset the carbon footprint of the school and community.
“At the same time engagement and responsibility teaches the students about the environment, climate challenge, and improves their mental wellbeing”
As the Seeds of Change programme progresses, some of our business partners will be running employee volunteering programmes to support causes directly on projects where they are based.
And with the four causes in this blog representing just a fraction of the projects we’ll be supporting through Seeds of Change, we’re excited to see the level of impact this kind of programme will have for local communities, the environment and the climate - from the ground up.
Seeds of Change grant applications are now closed to good causes but we’ll be publishing regular updates here on the blog, as well as on our social channels: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. If you’re a business looking to partner with Neighbourly to distribute funding to local causes, find out more on our ‘Donations’ page or get in touch to book a demo.