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Meet Jane - Neighbourly's Brand and Communications Lead | #MeetTheNeighbours

23 January 2023
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In our new ‘Meet the Neighbours’ series, where we meet and greet with some of the brilliant team members that work behind the scenes at Neighbourly, we introduce Jane, Brand and Communications Lead. 


As one of the business's longest-standing employees, Jane is synonymous with all things communications at Neighbourly. Her extensive knowledge of the Neighbourly brand has seen her lead on high profile PR projects with our business partners, commission innovative research studies on topics such as workplace happiness and successfully lead her team on developing content and comms processes. 


How has the world of corporate giving changed since you started working for Neighbourly?


I started working at Neighbourly in the company’s very early days - 9 years ago. In that time, the world of corporate giving/impact has seen some real shifts, from the language being used, right through to its increasing value in organisations, and therefore how well it’s resourced, prioritised and communicated. 


"[Corporate Giving] is now more about action, authenticity and results, which can only be a good thing"


Obviously all companies are in different places but, generally, they are now thinking about corporate impact more holistically and it is more tied to the strategy and purpose of the organisation. We’re also seeing forces like investors and the Gen Z workforce creating even more shifts; it's now more about action, authenticity and results, which can only be a good thing.


How does marketing differ at a business like Neighbourly? Is there anything you've learned from working at Neighbourly that you'd like to share with other marketers?


As a B Corp and mission-led business, our marketing approach has always aligned with our values and ethics and that means careful selection of partners, platforms and tactics as well as data management. 


Sometimes these decisions are tough, but an ethical stance will always be beneficial to the longer-term integrity of the brand and the company’s growth. Marketing for a scaleup business also requires a different mindset to marketing in larger organisations - flexibility and an agile approach is key.


Can you name one Neighbourly good cause whose work particularly inspires you and why?


There’s so many brilliant causes in the network it's hard to choose. One that particularly inspired me recently was the Caenhill Countryside Centre that we filmed in October as part of the M&S’ Gifts that Give Christmas campaign. Caenhill is a not-for-profit community project, set within a 70-acre farm in Wiltshire, that aims to support young people and those in care. 


Run by a team of volunteers aged between 4 and 86, Caenhill runs courses focusing on well-being and education with a mission to bring countryside learning and sustainability messages to young people and the local community at large, all whilst caring for abandoned and unwanted animals. See the film we produced here.


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Neighbourly Launches Warm Communities Fund

1 December 2022
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In response to our most recent community survey Neighbourly has launched the Warm Communities Fund to provide targeted support to local charities and community groups in our network who are providing ‘warm banks’, food donations and low-cost-to-prepare meals up and down the country to those who need it most.


Research shows that one in every five people in the UK is living in relative poverty, and food insecurity is on the rise.


As Neighbourly’s recent survey of community charities demonstrates, the cost-of-living crisis means that demand for support is growing while the availability of funding and other forms of support is decreasing:

  • 50% are planning to provide "warm banks" this winter
  • 65% have a seen a drop in financial donations
  • 63% are aiming to provide more food that requires little or no energy to prepare
  • The average energy bill for community charities is expected to rise by 119% (£7,600 p/a to £16,700)


This shortfall will have a direct and damaging impact on the communities served by these charities and groups.


The Neighbourly Warm Communities Fund (via the Neighbourly Foundation, charity 1189514) has been set up to enable individuals and organisations to make donations which will be distributed over the winter period and beyond. The campaign will be “needs-led” with micro-grants provided to local charities and community groups in our 22,000+ UK & Ireland network.


Through our work, we know that small charities and good causes know the needs of their community better than anyone else, and are able to support them in the most impactful ways. If you would like to find out more about the fund, make a donation or a business pledge, follow the link to our webpage below.

Aldi unveil Christmas 2022 advert with Kevin the carrot

10 November 2022


Aldi’s Christmas 2022 TV advert is here, featuring their partnership with Neighbourly alongside last winter’s festive phenomenon Kevin the Carrot and a cameo from Marcus Radishford. Echoing the same powerful sentiment “make Christmas amazing for everyone”, the ad sees Kevin the carrot embark on a new, yet familiar, Christmas adventure.


Neighbourly is delighted to feature in the advert, which highlights the work we’ve done with Aldi since 2019 distributing community grants as well as surplus food from all of their UK stores to local small charities and community groups. So far, Aldi has donated over 25 million meals to those in need, including schools, soup kitchens and breakfast clubs.


Additionally, this year Aldi is encouraging their customers and followers to support the Neighbourly Foundation*, to help local communities in need over the winter. 


If you, like family member Jasper Carrot, would like to donate some of your pocket money you can click the link below to help local families.


*charity 1189514

Gifts that Give - M&S and Neighbourly’s Christmas Partnership Launch

4 November 2022
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This Christmas M&S has teamed up with Neighbourly to deliver a Christmas campaign with a purpose. As 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 and the Cost of Living Crisis adding further strain, M&S wanted to help by launching their Gifts that Give initiative. 


M&S has given £1 million across 1,000 small charities and community groups in the UK and Ireland through the Neighbourly Foundation (charity 1189514). The donations will contribute towards supporting each organisation through what is set to be a difficult winter period. 


To mark the festive campaign, M&S has brought together a number of these hardworking groups to feature in their Christmas TV advert, which you can watch on our website

You’ll also be able to meet and find out more about three of the good causes in the advert: the Kaotic Angels, Caenhill Countryside Centre and the Y Centre Skaters. These charities invited Neighbourly to visit their hometowns to film them doing what they do best, helping their local communities. 

How the grants will be used this Christmas

From food banks and homeless support to disability charities and schools spanning the UK, the 1,000 recipients are using their grant money for a variety of reasons. Amongst the beneficiaries are Scout and Rainbow groups who will be using the money to heat their venues through the winter months and a refugee charity called 3D Drumchapel in Scotland who is using the money to “run sessions to help with the cost of living and an after school club to bring families into the warmth, allow children to do their homework and also to provide families with a hot cooked meal”. 


Whiterock Children’s Centre Christmas Appeal in Northern Ireland will be using their grant money to help people in their local community struggling with the cost of living by “giving some support with the non essentials like toys or clothes for Christmas”. Also being supported is England community transport charity, Please Take Me, whose aim is to give those suffering with cancer in their community “free, regular, net-zero, non-emergency transport to and from their hospital appointments.”

You can find out more about the inspiring causes receiving the grant here. You can also find a list of all of the charities and good causes featured in the advert at the end of the blog.

About the M&S and Neighbourly Partnership

In 2015, M&S became a founding Neighbourly partner as they were leading the way in delivering their pioneering Plan A Sustainability strategy. M&S's first campaign engaged thousands of staff in fundraising £900k for local causes in its first year, a success that led them to working with Neighbourly to develop a number of innovative and evolving programmes over many years.


M&S went on to launch mass employee volunteering, a network-wide back-of-store food and product surplus redistribution, and further rounds of targeted fundraising and grants programmes with wide-reaching social and environmental impact - supporting over 6,000 local good causes which help an estimated 2.3 million people every week.


“M&S's Christmas campaign is a brilliant celebration of kindness and a timely reminder of the importance of community at a time when support at a local level is needed more than ever. 


“Findings from our recent community survey found that 83% of local groups are already experiencing a rise in demand on their services yet 69% reported they’ve found it harder to find funds in the last three months. We’re delighted to have partnered with M&S on the distribution of this £1million fund which will make a huge difference to groups in our network over the winter period. This campaign builds on a long-standing community strategy that has seen M&S support over 6,000 good causes in the Neighbourly network and donate nearly 50 million meals worth of surplus food."

Steve Butterworth, Neighbourly CEO


Charities features in the TV ad: The Kaotic Angels Club, The Y Centre Skaters, UK Soul Choir, Mintridge Basketball Club, Kearsly Brass Band, Caenhill Countryside Centre, Paddington Arts Dance Group, Valley Invicta Primary School at East Borough Majorettes, Bengali Dancers.


Neighbourly Awarded ISO27001 Accreditation

7 October 2022


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As a business that uses technology to build strong and sustainable communities, remaining on top of cyber challenges and being committed to securing the data of our partners and good causes is paramount. For this reason, Neighbourly is very proud to announce that we have just been awarded an ISO27001 certification, making us the only company in our sector to have achieved security credentials of this level.


ISO27001 is one of the most widely recognised and internationally accepted information security standards designed to help global businesses set up, administer and maintain information security management systems. The certification confirms that we identify and manage risks consistently and measurably.


What does this mean for Neighbourly’s community?


  • From data asset classification to physical security, our certification means that any potential security gap has been identified and sufficiently protected against so anywhere your information is stored has been assessed and secured


  • Neighbourly is committed to being routinely audited by an accredited, independent certification body, as well as internal auditing, monitoring and reviewing, to ensure the protection of data grows along with the business 


  • Your data and security teams can be assured that we take your company or charity information protection extremely seriously and with our ISO27001 certificate it is now easier to communicate this


Achieving this level of security certification is the result of a huge amount of work and commitment from everyone at Neighbourly as we continue to challenge ourselves to reach the highest standards within our industry. 


To stay in the loop about the Neighbourly platform and any future credential upgrades, sign up to our business newsletter.

10 #FixThisCrisis campaigns you can get involved in

7 September 2022
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The UK is currently facing a national emergency in the form of the cost of living crisis. Even before the crisis, millions of people across the country were facing a winter choosing between heating or eating, and many are now realising that they may not be able to afford either.


Along with more than 50 organisations, we are supporting Turn2Us and Save the Children in the #FixThisCrisis campaign which is calling on the government to act with urgency to ensure the wellbeing of the population. 


Below we have compiled some of the campaigns and petitions being run by charities in response to the crisis so that you can show your support.

38 Degrees - We need an emergency budget that boosts Universal Credit now

This petition is urging the Government to announce an emergency budget that increases Universal Credit immediately.


With the cost of living crisis already hitting families hard and energy bills set to soar even more, this is more important now than ever.


“The Government raised Universal Credit during the pandemic - providing a lifeline to millions - and with enough pressure, they could do it again.”


Turn2Us - Write to your MP

Join Turn2Us in their campaign to ask for urgent action to help people during this cost of living crisis.


Writing to your MP lets them know how people in their area are being affected and can encourage them to take action.


“The more MPs that receive emails in their inbox, the better. Even if you think your MP will not be receptive, it is still important to write to them - the more public pressure MPs receive, the better chance we have of making a change.”


Action for Children - We need urgent and decisive action on the cost of living crisis

In this open letter to Liz Truss, Action for Children are asking the new Prime Minister to take the urgent steps required to give families the support they need and strengthen the safety net. 


Their three requests are that the government:

  1. Restore benefits to a decent level. If the cost of living goes up, benefits should reflect this.
  2. Increase the child element of Universal Credit to help lift children out of poverty.
  3. Deliver a serious and cross-government strategy to tackle child poverty and make it a key part of the government’s plans for levelling up.


  • Add your signature to the letter here

Save the Children - Call on the Government to do more to ease the cost of living crisis

Save the Children are calling on the government to invest in a level of social security that is sustainable and sufficient for people to live on.


“When parents can’t afford the basics, children pay the price.”


  • Sign the petition here

Independent Age - Tell the next Prime Minister to take action on the cost of living

Writing to the Prime Minister, Independent Age are asking that urgent action is taken to support older people in financial hardship to address the spiralling cost of living. 


They are currently just 1,274 signatures away from their target of 5,000 - add your name below!


  • Sign the petition here

The Trussell Trust - Everyone should be able to afford the essentials

While food banks are there to help people when they need it most, this cannot, and should not, be the country’s long-term solution to hunger. 


Everyone should be able to afford life’s essentials, so we need a stronger social security system that provides security every day, not just in times of national crisis. 


  • Send a message to your MP here

Action Storm - Vulnerable young people are going hungry to pay the bills. End food poverty now!

Vulnerable young people faced with food poverty are experiencing huge difficulties with inflation historically high, energy costs soaring, rent and food prices going up, and an inevitable recession. This is putting noticeable pressure on their mental health.

Action Storm are calling on the government to:

  1. Uprate benefits to reflect the real cost of living.
  2. Remove the five-week wait for the first Universal Credit payment.
  3. Offer the choice of more regular payments i.e. every 2 weeks


  • Sign the petition here

Provide an energy grant to people with a disability or serious medical condition

This petition is calling on the government to provide a grant, so that people with a disability or serious medical condition can afford to run the equipment, or heating, they need to stay alive.


At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.


  • Add your signature here

Mencap - Call on the government to do more to ease the cost of living crisis

“The cost of living crisis is tough for everyone, but it can be even harder for people with a learning disability, many of whom are on low incomes, rely on disability benefits, and who need support to be able to budget and navigate complex information from energy suppliers.”


Mencap are working with UK partners including Shelter, Mind, Save The Children, Parkinsons UK and Action for Children to request that the government invest in a level of social security that is sustainable and sufficient for people to live on.


  • Sign the petition here

38 Degrees - We can't take more energy bill hikes!

38 Degrees are petitioning that the government, and energy regulator Ofgem, must intervene now to protect us from the upcoming energy bills increase. 


By stopping and reversing the catastrophic energy bill increases they can help to make sure that everyone is warm this winter.


  • Sign the petition here

Neighbourly sets out roadmap to Net-Zero

5 September 2022
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With just three years left on the clock to curb emissions, Neighbourly has pledged to become net-zero by 2030. As an SME, this means fulfilling the commitment for both scope one and two emissions - for example, tracking and reducing the emissions produced directly by our organisation like heating our office, and the resources we use to run the business.


Furthermore, we have chosen to take the more ambitious route of including scope three emissions in our roadmap - namely the emissions impact of home working and business travel.



Our pledge comes part and parcel of our membership of the B Corp Climate Collective and as such will be checked and verified by the SME Climate Hub (part of Race To Zero) to ensure our goals are in line with climate science.

Why Net-Zero?

As a founding UK B Corp, Neighbourly is committed to business as a force for good, working to help other organisations and industries to become more impactful, sustainable and responsible.


Sustainability, the environment and social impact have become mission critical priorities for long-term business success and integral to company growth strategies. As a result we are seeing more and more organisations, from a wide range of industries and sectors, wanting to be genuinely more responsible when it comes to supporting their local communities - turning to Neighbourly for help.


By submitting this pledge we plan to:


  • Demonstrate our commitment to being a force for good.
  • Inspire our network and clients to join the global sustainability movement
  • Drive behavioural changes across our workforce to encourage sustainable practices and behaviours
  • Embed sustainability into our actions and operations


With transparency a key part of our commitment as a B Corp, we will continue to share updates on our progress to net-zero. To find out more about our roadmap to Net-Zero click the blue button below to view our strategy overview document.

A day in the life: Employee volunteering in action

31 August 2022
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Here at Neighbourly we live and breathe local communities and good causes. So, naturally, one of our most cherished staff benefits is unlimited volunteering.


Yep, you read that right. Provided we get our jobs done, Neighbourly employees can take unlimited paid volunteering days every year.


It’s something we take huge pride in and, whilst we’re helping other businesses implement employee volunteering for themselves - it makes sense that we get stuck in too.



Shedding some light into what an employee volunteering day might look like, Alice - Neighbourly’s Digital Marketing Manager, shares her day in the life, volunteering at the Community Farm near Bristol.

Volunteering at the Community Farm

The Community Farm is a not-for-profit social enterprise and community owned organic farm based in Chew Magna, near Bristol. As well as producing and delivering nature-friendly and nutritious organic veg boxes to hundreds of people in and around the Bristol area, they run a huge number of educational and wellbeing activities for all ages.

9am - Travelling to the farm

Shadow of a person and their bike

The Community Farm is set amongst beautiful countryside, right by Chew Valley Lake - about 10 miles from Bristol. As I don’t drive, I hop on my bike and cycle over to the farm following a lovely quiet (and largely off road) cycle route (thanks Sustrans!). It’s about an hour's ride but the weather is sunny and I’m glad to be outside enjoying the fresh air.

10am - Meet at the community farm yurt 

About six people are volunteering at the farm today. Some have been coming for years and volunteer every week, others pop down when they can - but it’s rare to see someone volunteer for the first time and not want to keep coming back. 


We usually start our day by meeting at the yurt. The yurt is a space used for many different farm, volunteer and community activities. It’s a fantastic space and even has its own pizza oven outside. There’s lots to do today though, so we don’t hang about. 


Gardening gloves are donned, sun cream applied and water bottles filled, we get ready to start the day.

10:15 - Broadly speaking

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The first big job of the day is picking the broad beans. Despite having been picked by volunteers just a few days before, the smaller ones are already plumped up. After a quick lesson on picking technique and how to spot the biggest and plumpest broad beans, we get to it.


There’s always some good chat from volunteer coordinator Ian whilst we’re working on farm tasks. Today he is telling us all about this book he’s been reading called ‘Immense World’ by award-winning science writer Ed Yong which talks about the amazing power of animal senses. 


His favourite fact from the book was the discovery that just 1mg of Atta Texana (Texas leafcutter ant) pheromone could theoretically lead a column of ants round the world three(!) times.


Ants aside, I find picking broad beans quite peaceful and meditative and before I know it we’ve plucked over 80kg of broad beans between us. Time for some well-earned lunch.

1pm - Lunch (and cake)

Volunteers sitting on log stumps eating lunch

Sitting under the garden shelter we eat our lunch whilst chatting to some of the farm staff, one of whom brought cake as this was his last day working at the farm before moving on to pastures anew. 


Not long into our lunch break, another team member comes rushing out of the kitchen. She’s found a baby shrew in the sink! The farm is full of wildlife but this particular find is especially cute. Whilst little shrew doesn’t seem too impressed about being removed from the sink, we feel it’s in its best interests.

2pm - Heave hoe

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After lunch it’s off to the brassicas. In organic farming, some weeds can be useful as they keep the pests out - but these lanes of purple kale and cavolo nero have become a little overrun. Time to give them some space with a round of hoeing.


Hoes are a tool that efficiently scrape away the weeds in between the plants and, with weak roots, proved quite a satisfying task. In just a few hours, we’ve cleared the weeds and it’s time to wrap up for the day.

4pm - Get yer veg on the edge

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The Community Farm aims for absolutely nothing to go to waste. Their walk-in fridge contains a shelf called ‘veg on the edge’ which is a free-for-all for staff and volunteers to collect anything that’s wonky or needs using up quickly.


I grab some courgettes, a green pepper, some broccoli and an amazing looking conjoined cucumber as my ‘earnings’ for the day.


Outside the fridge often sits a crate of veg that’s gone a touch too far or is a little woody. This gets sent off to be fed to the pigs.


There is also a community of pickers called ‘gleaners’ in the UK that come to the farm to pick whatever's been left in the field. Home growers know that sometimes you just get such a huge glut of something (courgettes and runner beans seem to be common ones) that you just can’t pick and use it all up - and it’s the same at the Community Farm. 


The gleaners that come to the Community Farm come to pick all that’s left and transport it to be distributed by local food banks and community kitchens.

4:30 - Rolling home

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It’s been a tiring but fulfilling day at the farm and I leave for the cycle back to Bristol with a smile on my face. 


With the heat of high summer, I can’t resist a little stop for rest and water at the top of this hill - plus it gives me time to enjoy the view.

Reflections

Being able to volunteer is incredibly important to me as an employee at Neighbourly - enabling connection to my local community to be something I can experience not only in my spare time but as part of my working life. At the same time, it's extremely concerning to see and hear about the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on the most vulnerable people and the organisations that support them.


The Community Farm has been hitting the local headlines of late. Having lost 50% of its organic veg box subscribers in the last year, as many households cut down on spending, they are now on the brink of closure. Along with the thousands of small charities and good causes across the UK and Ireland, this crisis is already taking its toll - and it’s the contribution of volunteer time, funding and the support of customers that will help prevent the collapse of this incredible web of community support.


It’s also why it’s ever more important for businesses to embrace or further embed their employee volunteering programmes. Not only so that staff can see that their employer is invested in the causes they care most about - but to enable real action by real people in communities during a time of immense suffering and hardship, allowing us all to weather the storm.


This year Neighbourly has released a brand new guide ‘Volunteering: The Key to Employee Engagement’ - if you’d like to find out more about employee volunteering or how to create scale and maximise a corporate volunteering programme, it’s a great place to start.

Getir donates over a quarter of a million meals to charity

19 August 2022
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It's been just 6 months since we partnered with Getir, the rapid grocery delivery company, to help them deliver a UK-wide food surplus distribution scheme. In that time Getir has donated over a quarter of a million meals to local charities and good causes.


"We are now getting more fresh food and snacks for our families"


As more families across the country have been reaching out to food banks and other organisations to receive a full and healthy meal, Getir has provided access to its stores so that surplus food can be donated via the Neighbourly platform, distributing more than 260,000 meals to over 280 local charities and good causes across the UK. The nourishing meals donated, that otherwise would have been sent to waste, were worth half a million pounds and saved a staggering 395 tonnes of CO2.


“The impact we are having on local communities is important to Getir,” said Kristof Van Beveren, General Manager at Getir. “We know this is an uncertain and challenging time for many families, but where we can, we always want to be a company that cares for those people who need our help.”

Meeting need in local communities

Our latest Community Insights survey revealed that 86% of food banks across the country have reported an increase in demand over the last three months, with an estimated rise of 41% more people looking for support at some food banks.



As demand increases, partnerships with businesses like Getir go a long way in providing extra support at a critical time for local services on the ground. Rehoboth Community Outreach Club, just one of the good causes benefitting from Getir’s partnership with Neighbourly, said on Twitter: “We could not do the work we are doing in local communities without the support of giving platforms like Neighbourly working in partnership with Getir and many more supermarkets to end food poverty.”


The Store Cupboard W7 have also taken to Twitter to thank Getir for their contributions, saying: “Thanks to Neighbourly and Getir we are now getting more fresh food and snacks for our families. All much appreciated.”


Steve Butterworth, CEO of Neighbourly, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting [Getir] with their surplus food programme which is donating quality to local organisations. 250,000 meals is a great milestone and those meals will have made such a difference for many people in the community that are struggling with the cost of living crisis.”

Key takeaways from Neighbourly’s Donation Management webinar

5 August 2022
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This summer our CEO, Steve Butterworth, hosted a panel discussion with representatives from B&Q, Lidl and Gallagher looking at the ‘power of local’ and how these leading brands maximise their environmental and social impact by donating to local charities.


By connecting corporate partners with a network of over 20,000 vetted local causes, Neighbourly helps businesses to activate social purpose at a local level on a national scale.


But why is this important? And what difference does it make when businesses support smaller charities and local good causes? Here are some key takeaways from the panel discussion:

Supporting local causes increases employee engagement

Stores are located within the heart of communities which presents a unique opportunity to create impact in areas that are meaningful to employees themselves. 


Employee-led nomination schemes engage employees with corporate donation programmes whilst enabling businesses to deliver funds to those most in need. 

Local good causes understand the needs of local people

Local good causes and small charities are embedded in their communities, with a deep understanding of the needs of local people. This has become increasingly evident since the start of the pandemic as smaller organisations work on the frontline to support those most in need. 


Supporting local causes enables businesses to tangibly help and connect with their local areas.. There is also evidence to suggest that supporting local good causes creates more impact through the ‘local multiplier effect’ which builds prosperous and thriving local economies by retaining and circulating money within communities.


Corporate giving programmes should be aligned with your businesses purpose

Implementing a corporate giving programme that aligns with business values and purpose helps to strengthen the message behind the scheme, whilst delivering ESG impact. 


It is important to be really clear on what you want to achieve through corporate funding by focusing on a strategic objective linked to where help is needed in the community. The B&Q Foundation, for example, has created a giving campaign that improves community spaces and places. As a home improvement and DIY retailer, this programme makes sense for their business and keeps the focus on an area that is aligned.

Smaller grants can make a big difference to local good causes

Cash grants of varying amounts can make a huge difference to local good causes, perhaps more so than larger national charities, as they can channel funds to support beneficiaries at a much quicker rate. In this way corporate donations can have a big impact across a wide variety of impact areas and multiple causes.


“Sometimes people associate financial support with big chunky numbers [but] … we ran a very interesting programme during covid … [providing micro-grants of a few hundred pounds to keep the lights on … those low thousands or even hundreds can make a big difference and enables you to spread the love a bit further as well” - Steve Butterworth, Neighbourly CEO


In the context of the current cost of living crisis, providing financial support alongside volunteering programmes can make a big difference, helping to cover a charity’s overheads and volunteering costs.