Blog | neighbourly

Starbucks Community Café programme expands to support 20 cafes

Mint Lane Cafe

This week sees Starbucks UK, in partnership with Neighbourly, launch the second phase of its successful Community Café programme. This latest expansion will add a further sixteen cafes to the four already being supported by the scheme since August 2017.

The projects being supported are all not-for-profit cafes, based within community spaces up and down the UK – you can see the latest ones to join the scheme on Neighbourly. Starbucks will be supporting each one through their local stores with donations of essentials like tea, coffee, milk jugs, syrups and cups – for which they will be able to make regular orders. Local stores also hope to offer the support of their staff teams through training and volunteering.

Across the country, these community cafés have come to life in response to the individual needs of a local community. They are all run not-for-profit, with the focus being all about the benefits to the local community – providing good quality, healthy food and drink options at reasonable prices or on a pay-what-you-can basis for those who can’t afford. They all have a strong social angle – acting as sociable, safe and welcoming meeting space for different community groups – with a focus on community cohesion and inclusion.

The K9 café in Ely – one of the latest 16 to be supported by Starbucks – started life as the brain wave of Chris Kent who had been running employability training for adults; ‘The café gave us all a continuing safe place to meet, a chance to practice and develop skills and confidence in the real world – but in supportive environment. Gradually a team of volunteers emerged, who now run the cafe with my support and we’ve been going for over 3 years. People drop in to the cafe to meet other people – some bring their dogs, some do not have a dog of their own but love them, so they can come and share other people’s dogs. We get a wide range of people come the cafe – from elderly people with dementia, young people on work experience, people learning difficulties, physical disabilities, mental health problems, social isolation, wheelchair users, people with autism, homeless people. Many have lifelong conditions and coming to the cafe helps alleviate loneliness and social isolation. Of course, the dogs are the bridge between the people – the glue that holds it all together, the ice-breaker, the thing everyone can talk about and enjoy being with. We don’t get any regular funding – our only income is through proceeds from the tea/coffee we sell, and we try and keep our prices low as most of our customers are on low incomes. Starbucks support means we can maximise the incomes from hot drinks which will be such a help.’

Over in Lincoln, the Mint Lane Cafe is a social eating café that uses retail surplus food, cooked and served by volunteers. Part of the growing “Superkitchen” network, the Café receives deliveries of food which is destined for waste, from local suppliers. From this they prepare and serve fresh nutritious lunches at affordable prices three days a week. It also offers surplus food for sale on a “Pay as You Feel” basis. As well as this they have a highly successful “Pay it Forward” scheme through which customers can donate a meal to someone who cannot afford it themselves. Vouchers are issued for every £3 donated, then distributed through partner agencies to people at risk of food poverty – giving them a free 3 course meal from the day’s menu at the café. The café is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 10am and 3pm, with the menu changing daily according to what rescued food arrives.

Charles Cooke, the Mint Lane Café manager tells us; ‘The primary purpose of the cafe is to provide a warm and welcoming environment for people who use the centre, as well as reducing food waste and fighting food poverty. The café relies on many volunteers undertaking a variety of roles; cooking, serving, managing food donations, cleaning, collecting local food surpluses and in the back office. I love watching the transformations of people… staff, volunteers and customers as they grow, become more confident and develop new friendships. We give a warm welcome at the door for everybody and especially those who might be a bit nervous about new places and new people. Large tables encourage people to sit together and make friends.’

Possobilities, further north in Glasgow, is a small social enterprise café which caters to everyone in the community, but mainly people with disabilities. The café serves 70 people each day and offers a safe place for local people to come and meet without any prejudice. Jim McCabe runs the café with 10 volunteers; ‘Our café is not for profit, so any generated income is always a bonus. Many of our members and customers are on low incomes so a Starbucks coffee is seen as a real luxury. We have won the Glasgow Evening Times Community Champions Award for our initiative and we’re about to launch a specially adapted Gym for people with disabilities that we have been fundraising nearly 4 years for.’


Support the campaign

You can support your local community cafe by popping in for a cup of tea or coffee, or maybe you could ‘pay-it-forward’ for a future customer in need. You'll find the cafes taking part in this programme on the campaign page - with more being added in the coming months. Follow and share their project pages across your social channels with the hashtag #StarbucksCommunityCafe to make more people aware of the amazing work they do.

If you're a community cafe looking for support, get in touch: starbucks@neighbourly.com


Content Manager

May 9, 2018

Win tickets and boxes to Wembley Stadium events with #MiniPitches


The Football Association and their delivery partner The Football Foundation have partnered with Neighbourly to launch #MiniPitches - a programme to help schools and communities part-fund their own 3G football pitch. The pitches will enable schools to provide before, after school and lunchtime clubs with improved facilities to increase pupils’ participation in sport. The ambition is for the pitches to benefit the wider community too, with adult sport organisations and grassroots clubs using the facility at evenings and weekends.

Seven schools are fundraising between now and May 2018 to support their application to the Football Foundation to deliver an exciting new multi-use pitch.

To support the campaign we've launched an exciting range of prize draws for business and individual donors - with all donations qualifying for entry to fantastic prize draws, including signed England shirts and VIP Wembley tickets.

The Mini Pitch Prizes

Emirates FA Cup Semi Final - 8-person box to the game on either 21st or 22nd April

2 prizes/boxes to be won

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever a financial donation is made to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school. Minimum donation £5.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 12th April 2018

SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 5th May - 8-person box at Wembley

3 prizes/boxes to be won

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever a financial donation of £100 or more is made to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 20th April 2018.

Emirates Men's FA Cup Final General Admission ticket – 1 x pair 19th May

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever a financial donation of £500 or more is made to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 1st May 2018.

England men's game 2nd June 2018 - England v Nigeria x 5 tickets

7 prizes (of 5 tickets) to be won

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever a financial donation is made to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school. Minimum donation £5.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 17th May 2018.

England men's game 2nd June 2018 - England v Nigeria - 3 x 8-person box with food at Wembley

1 Grand Prize of all 3 boxes to be won

This grand prize will be won by the business or individual that makes the highest donation to a participating school's Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or directly to the school.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 11th May 2018.

Ed Sheeran concert tickets Saturday 16th June 2018 – 1 x pair

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever financial donation is made to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school. Minimum donation £5.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 18th May 2018.

Taylor Swift concert tickets Saturday 23rd June 2018 – 1 x pair

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever a financial donation is made to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school. Minimum donation £5.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 18th May 2018.

Tickets to NFL Autumn game on 21st or 28th October 2018 – 1 x pair

2 prizes (of 2 tickets) to be won

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever a donation of £500 or more is made to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 1st May 2018.

Tickets to the Rugby Challenge Cup Final on 25th August 2018

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever a donation of £500 or more is made to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 1st May 2018.


Signed England football shirt from November 2017 games

4 prizes/shirts to be won

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever an individual makes a financial donation to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school. Minimum donation £5.

Opens 9th February 2018 and closes 2nd May 2018.

Signed England football shirt from November 2017 games

3 prizes/shirts to be won

Entry to this Prize Draw is made whenever a registered business makes a financial donation to a participating schools’ Mini Pitch fundraising pot through Neighbourly or direct to the school. Minimum donation £5.

Opens 29th February 2018 and closes 15th June 2018.

Terms & Conditions for all prize draws and grand prize entry can be found here: Mini Pitch Prize Draw T&Cs

Donations can be be by visiting the campaign page, scrolling down to choose a participating school and clicking on 'donate'.

Any queries should be sent to support@neighbourly.com

Best of luck!


Content Manager

Apr 10, 2018

CAST help for smaller charities


CAST, the independent Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology, is stepping up its support for smaller charities – and it wants to talk to them direct ahead of the launch of a new dedicated accelerator programme this summer.

It’s an often overlooked fact, but the vast majority of the UK charity sector is small, with 97% of organisations having an annual income of below £1m. Despite their size, these organisations play a critical role in championing and safeguarding some of the most vulnerable people in society. But in the digital world, tiny organisations with limited resources can feel overwhelmed.

That’s why CAST, the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology, is focusing much of its work in 2018 on small charities.

CAST (itself a charity), helps people use digital for social good. It supports non-profits to embed digital and design across their services, strategy and governance - working with sector leaders, funders and government.

Since 2015 CAST has worked with more than 300 non-profits of varying sizes, supporting them through its programmes to become more resilient and responsive to the needs of their communities. It has helped the likes of Breast Cancer Care, Action for Children, Refugee Action and NCVO.

CAST already helps charities like these to create digital products and services, through its established Fuse accelerator. Now it is creating a Fuse for Smaller Charities accelerator programme, due for kick-off in July.

To help them understand how best to support smaller organisations, across April and May CAST is opening up its phone lines to talk to charities about their ambitions for digital, the challenges they face and what they think would help them achieve their vision.

These 30-minute research calls will also form the first stage of recruitment for the new accelerator programme. “We want to make sure we get it right,” says CAST. “In return we’ll share our knowledge, expertise and connections. If we can’t help directly, we’ll aim to signpost to others who can.”

If you are part of a smaller charity looking for support, you can book a call with CAST direct, via Calendly.

Check out CAST’s newly refreshed website, at www.wearecast.org.uk

Original article from: Digital Agenda


Content Manager

Apr 5, 2018

Transform a shared space near you with a free Grow Wild seed kit


Neighbourly has joined forces with Grow Wild to change lives and transform spaces with UK native wildflowers. It is the biggest initiative of its kind and you can be a part of it!

You’re invited to find an urban space and turn it into a colourful wildflower haven for the whole community to enjoy and benefit from.

You don’t need growing experience - just enthusiasm, a shared space to transform and a group of people to help make it happen!

Apply now using their online form. Or visit the Grow Wild website to find out more.

Making an even bigger difference in 2018 

This year, Grow Wild is asking people to share the ‘before’ pictures of their space: to see and celebrate how UK native wildflowers can turn grey into green, red, blue and all the colours of nature.

Bringing people together, getting active and growing as a group, giving back through volunteering: all of these things can improve health and wellbeing. And by creating these pockets of wild beauty for your neighbours and friends, you will be contributing to their wellbeing too.

What's in the Grow Wild seed kit?         

  • Successful applicants will all receive an ‘essential’ seed kit, which has extra help and guidance on planning and realising your transformation project.
  •  Successful applicants will also receive one, two or three ‘participant’ kits, depending on how many people you expect to be part of the project. These kits have extra seeds and other resources to engage more people.
  •  Wildflower seeds native to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that have been tested by the scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Lots of ideas on how to involve people in your transformation project and keep them engaged.

Applications close on 11th March 2018, and Grow Wild will let you know if your application is successful a few days later in time for the sowing season. We look forward to seeing your spaces!



Content Manager

Mar 6, 2018

There's no place like home


24 Feb - 3 March 2018 is Homelessness Awareness Week in our home town of Bristol - an annual campaign to raise awareness of homelessness, those at risk of becoming homeless and the issues facing rough sleepers. 

Homelessness is continuing to rise and is now at its highest rate since the ‘90s. It's estimated that over 60% of homelessness is 'hidden', with people finding temporary solutions to to avoid the dangers of the streets. This recent article from the BBC: You're on the verge of losing everything - but you don't understand why really touched us, and provides great insight into how easily a run of bad luck could happen to any one of us.

You may have already seen or donated to our campaign 'No Place Like Home' which we've been running over the winter months. The campaign is helping to raise essential funds for a collection of small, front-line homelessness organisations accross the UK. These groups are working day and night, rain and shine, to support people with nowhere to call home - giving them respite from hunger and assault and providing a launchpad to local housing options and support services.

As we enter one of the coldest week's of the year, please spare a few minutes to share the campaign page or any of the participating project pages on your TwitterFacebook or other social channels. If you'd like to make a donation, please choose a project from the campaign page and press 'Support this project': www.neighbourly.com/NoPlaceLikeHome


Content Manager

Feb 27, 2018

How To: Help Your Local Animal Shelter


Britain is a nation of animal lovers and if you're anything like me (jumping for joy at every dog you come across in the street), then helping out at your local animal shelter is a great way to spend some free time.

Unfortunately there's a variety of reasons a pet can end up in a shelter. The obvious ones are the worst: cases of abuse and neglect. But sometimes it could be that the owner has passed away and there's nowhere left for their pet to go. The owner might have developed a serious or long term illness which means they can't care for them properly anymore.

There are often more of these cases than there are spaces in animal shelters. Staff at these animal shelters rely on donations to help keep doors open and volunteers to help them with their day to day care of the animals.

So what can you do to help?

Social media: they say charity starts at home, or in some cases, wherever you are with your mobile phone! You can start by sharing updates from your local shelter or adoption profiles on your social media channels. We know that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc. are huge sources of information for most folks these days. Imagine you share little Bubbles' adoption profile on your Instagram tomorrow and next week she's off to her forever home because of it!

Photography: another useful and super fun activity you can volunteer for. For every pet up for adoption, a new mugshot is needed. Pets need to look their best for their adoption profiles and your photograph might capture the smile somebody has been looking for. Good quality photos of day to day activities, staff, volunteers and housing at the charity will also be really useful for the shelter to use for their own social media channels.

Transport: do you have a car? Transporting animals is a key need for charities - they need transport to get to the vet or maybe their new foster home. What better companion on the road riding shotgun than a four legged friend?

Socialising: this one is everyone's favourite! Dogs and cats need socialising to help them alleviate loneliness and distress that often comes with the shift from home to shelter life. Dogs will need exercising and cats will need cuddling - this human contact also helps them build on becoming more comfortable with new and different people.

Donating items: by donating stuff this means the charity doesn't need to use hard earned monetary donations on the purchasing of items when it could be used towards something crucial like vet bills. It's always best to check with your local shelter what they need, but they will always welcome beds, blankets, toys, cat litter and food etc. Well loved and used items are fine but make sure they're still in a relatively good condition. I'm sure you wouldn't want to sleep in a bed that's been chewed to pieces either!


DIY skills: if you're good with your hands or have a group of friends willing to help, then skills like gardening and carpentry are always appreciated. There will always be bits that need mending - fences to put up, walls to paint, plants to prune! Gardening will also help the premises look more homely for its residents and provide lots of smells for the ones who like to follow their noses.

Laundry: this is probably one you haven't thought of before, but can you imagine how many blankets, towels and beds need washing? This one is sure to score you some brownie points, even if it's just volunteering half an hour to come in and throw a few loads in the washing machine. It means another member of staff can use that time to exercise a few extra animals - or just give them a well earned break.

Fundraising: this is obvious but vital to keep a shelter running. More often than not they rely on donations from generous donors and fundraisers or local grants. But with budgets being cut all over the nation, it's getting increasingly more difficult. These donations help to feed animals, pay for expensive vet bills and keeping the premises warm and running. Most staff work on a voluntary basis because there just aren't enough funds to go around, but these people give their time to work each day around the clock. There are a million ways to fundraise! From a bake sale at your local supermarket (remember to ask their permission first) to an epic skydive wearing a cat costume - it's all for a great cause and you'll have a blast doing it.

Fostering: this comes with some measure of responsibility and won't suit everyone. You'll likely need to be someone who's home a lot so that when your new furry housemate comes to stay, you can help them adjust and relax. Fostering is a great way to get animals used to human contact and the comings and goings of home life and is vital when the shelter runs out of room for the next animal who needs it. Who knows, you may find that having them around isn't so bad and they might be able to join your family full time :)

Take a look at some of our animal rescue on projects and see how you can help!

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

Sophie Cook

Community Manager

Feb 1, 2018

'No Place Like Home' campaign to support local homelessness charities


No Place Like Home is our new campaign aimed at helping anyone without a permanent home this Christmas, from those sleeping rough to those being provided for by foodbanks, temporary shelters or refuges. The Neighbourly website will provide a platform for more than 55 charities and projects across the UK, enabling them to reach local individuals who want to help. The requests for support range from funding for food items, warm clothing and sleeping bags and tents, as well as bags for belongings, toys and games.

Watch the campaign film.

Homelessness is currently at its highest rate since the 1990s, and local organisations (many of which are run by volunteers) are being forced to do more with their dwindling resources. Further pressure is being exerted because of local council cuts and less funding for homeless organisations, as well as cuts to mental health provision which has also led to a rise in homelessness.

Having a safe place to call home enables us to focus on our wellbeing, employment and social lives, but homelessness (or the threat of it) can happen all too quickly and easily. What has hit hardest is the reduction of support for local authorities, meaning that councils have had to cut back on support for those working with the most dispossessed. This campaign aims to support projects delivering essential services to people who, for whatever reason, need emergency support from a local charity - bringing them together in one place so that individuals and companies can contribute

We devised the campaign following feedback from our community asking for specific help this year as homelessness levels are anticipated to rise to the same numbers seen in the 1990s. We're hoping that business backers, keen to lend their brand to help raise awareness, and local individuals will contribute to the projects they care about through individual donations.

The homelessness crisis is currently at its worst. Officially, more than 4,130 people slept rough every night in the UK in 2016, a 16% rise on the previous year and more than double the 2010 figure. The true figure is many times higher. It is estimated that 62% of homelessness is ‘hidden’ because it includes people who become homeless but find a temporary solution such as staying with friends or living in a squat.

How to get involved:

Homelessness organisations who need funding or donations are welcome to join the campaign – please email hello@neighbourly.com for more info.


Content Manager

Dec 6, 2017

It's Time To Cheer For Good!


From Wednesday 29th November it's time to get cheering!

Up until 20th December, 210 charities and their supporters nominated by Starbucks partners and customers around the UK will be raising awareness of important local causes on their Neighbourly pages and across Twitter using the hashtag #CheerForGood.

All 210 charities will receive a £500 grant from Starbucks and the 30 charities who cheer the loudest will receive £2,000!

You may recall similar festive campaigns Starbucks have run with Neighbourly over recent years. We spoke with charity St. Bernadette's BEEs Preschool who secured a £1,000 grant last year and here's what they had to say..

"It was a great opportunity not to be missed for such a small pre-school so we just picked up the pace and just went for it for it last year - I still can’t believe we secured £1000 by just tweeting and sharing our story. It’s just fantastic. 

We have worked tirelessly fundraising for our preschool, with more and more companies retracting support for small charities like our own the Neighbourly platform has become a vital lifeline to attract the support of companies.

We used the grant to purchase a new outdoor playhouse, sleepers, plants to grow our own vegetables, sand and arranged for Millers Animals to visit the preschool. Some of our children do not have access to an outdoor space at home and by bring the farm to the preschool more families were able to attend."

Now you can see all 210 charities taking part here! Want to support your favourite? Here's how:

  • Sign up to Neighbourly, follow and say hi to your charity on their project page
  • Tweet your support by including their Twitter handle and the hashtag #CheerForGood

Each charity's cheer will be measured by it's activity score on Neighbourly (followers, photos and updates posted etc.) and by the amount of tweets including their Twitter handle and the hashtag. So if you're tweeting support - don't forget to include #CheerForGood!

Every tweet you send will push your favourite charity just that little bit closer to that £2,000 grant so what are you waiting for?

Happy #CheerForGood everybody!

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

Sophie Cook

Community Manager

Nov 29, 2017

Neighbourly survey finds employees that volunteer through work are 13% happier

happy worker

We recently commissioned a survey to gain greater understanding of the attitudes around happy, healthy communities and the value of volunteering, with a number of questions addressing employee volunteering and happiness. Carried out by an independent research company with 2,000 people across the UK, this survey found that employees who have volunteered with their company are 13% happier than those who have not - suggesting that employee volunteering is the route to a happier workforce and as important as benefits or environment.

A happier workforce brings a number of bottom line benefits to a business, including better staff attraction and retention; improved cost savings thanks to lower staff turnover and a reduction in lost wages; as well as a positive culture and an improvement in productivity. Our survey also found that employees who volunteer are 15% more satisfied with their lives, and that they are also 15% more likely to recommend the company they work for, helping to support the recruitment of top talent.

We've found that the benefits of a happier workforce are backed up by research by other bodies. The University of Warwick1 found that being happy made people 12% more productive, whilst a CAP study2 found that replacing an employee costs approximately 20% of their annual salary. In addition, the Centre for Mental Health has just released updated figures for the estimated cost of mental health problems to employers3 which now equates to around £1,300 per employee.

Whilst the link between happiness and volunteering may not be a new one, the benefits and wider implications for employees, employers and the community cannot be ignored. So having greater insight into the positives of volunteering couldn’t have come at a more crucial time - when smaller community projects and charities are more in need of help than ever due to the reduction in funding from the government.

With 75% of millennials considering the potential to contribute to society when choosing an employer4, the possibilities for employee volunteering are huge. As well as supporting their local communities, 85% of businesses find volunteering advances talent as part of the learning and development strategy5.

Neighbourly helps businesses to activate their social purpose at a local level by aggregating charities and community projects and creating transparency around their needs through our interactive platform. We've worked with a number of retail and FMCG brands, whose volunteers’ responses also echo the findings of the nationwide survey:

  • 72% feel volunteering allows them to apply their skills
  • 80% said the experience made them feel happier
  • 86% said it raised their company’s profile
  • 89% want to take part in more events
  • 100% said volunteering made them feel proud to work for their company

Carmel McQuaid, Head of Sustainable Business at M&S, who have just completed a burst of over 340 volunteering hours as part of their 1 million hours 2025 commitment told us; ‘Our goal is to create a positive impact in society and improve peoples’ lives wherever we touch them. That’s why we encourage our employees to give up their knowledge, time, and energy to volunteer in the communities where we operate. We know from our own experience that the value of volunteering goes well beyond the impact of a single task, it actually improves employee well-being and happiness in the process.’

Find out more about employee volunteering with Neighbourly.


(1)  University of Warwick, Happiness and Productivity, February 2014
(2)  Center for American Progress, There Are Significant Business Costs to Replacing Employees, November 2012
(3)  HuffPost UK, Mental Health at Work: What No Employer Can Afford to Ignore, September 2017
(4)  Harvard Business Review, What Do Millennials Really Want At Work?, April 2016
(5)  Deloitte, Impact Survey 2016


Content Manager

Oct 25, 2017

6 steps to reduce plastic waste


As humans, we leave our footprints wherever we go. Be it our carbon or ecological footprint - everything we do on this planet has a consequence. Sadly, plastic pollution is one of them. And it's a big problem, especially for our oceans.

Plastic is everywhere. If you're reading this on your phone - chances are your phone is protected by a plastic phone case. Reading this on a laptop? Your keyboard, track pad and mouse are probably plastic. As well as your headphones, your monitor, your glasses and sunglasses, parts of your clothing, your shoes and the container you're eating out of. It's everywhere and it's unavoidable. But what happens when we don't want it anymore and throw it away? While we hope most of it is sent off for recycling or even upcycling, a lot of it ends up in landfill where it will take hundreds of years to degrade. Then a lot of it ends up loose in the world, and ultimately in our waterways and our oceans.

So how can you help reduce the amount of plastic polluting our oceans? Here's our 6 easy steps:

  1. Carry a reusable bottle - firstly, plastic bottles contain chemicals that can seep into your drinks. Ew. Nobody wants that. It's not yet clear how harmful these chemicals are but is bottled water really worth it? It would be better for your health to carry a stainless steel bottle which is reusable as well as durable! Secondly, 35.8m plastic bottles are used every day, but only 19.8m are recycled each day. That's a staggering amount of unnecessary plastic left behind!
  2. Carry a reusable coffee cup - we're a nation of caffeine addicts and an incredible 7 million coffee cups are used everyday in the UK! Many of us will throw these coffee cups in the recycling bin, but did you know that most of them are in fact not recyclable? This is because polyethylene is used in the cups to keep them water tight. It would be much greener to carry an alternative - your own reusable coffee cup. They come in all designs, shapes and sizes and can make you look so much more cool on your morning commute ;)
  3. Buy loose fruit and veg - fruit and veg are naturally wrapped in their own sturdy skins designed to protect themselves, so why do we need to individually wrap these items in sheets of plastic? You'll be sure to see it commonly done in supermarkets but is it necessary? Packaged fruit and vegetables also come with the issue of food waste. Have you ever gone shopping for a courgette only to find you HAVE to buy 3? Often, these unwanted extras end up in the bin which contributes to the UK's ever growing food waste problem!
  4. Say no to plastic straws - a guarantee find in the waste on any beach are plastic straws. From tiny pointless cocktail straws to super big bendy ones - they are one of the most hazardous litter substances in the ocean. In 2015, a horrifying video of a turtle with a plastic straw being removed from it's nose went viral. While heartbreaking to watch, it raised awareness of a very dangerous and real threat to our marine life. If you must drink from a straw, there are such things as paper or even titanium alternatives.
  5. Say no to disposable cutlery - it poses much of the same problem as straws and other plastic litter and like most of these there are alternatives. Vegware make catering disposables that are low carbon, made from renewable or recycled materials, and all can be recycled along with food waste.
  6. Carry a reusable bag - plastic bags are a nightmare. Since the 5p charge of plastic bags came into effect in the UK back in 2015, the number of bags used has gone down by 80% which is equal to 9 billion fewer plastic bags! Next time you go shopping, take your own! We all have old plastic bags hiding in cupboards at home - so use it and reuse it. Then use it again. Take a tote bag, or a rucksack or a gym bag! All of these are less likely to split on the way to the car too.

But hey! Here's an even better suggestion: why not take part in a beach clean? It's a great excuse to take your friends, family or dog down to the coast for a day out. Along with your picnic and windbreakers, bring along a few rubbish bags and collect any rubbish you find. Do be careful though and wear some protective gloves as some plastic debris can be dangerous, they can have sharp edges and it's not uncommon to find used needles mixed in with a pile of old seaweed and sweet wrappers.

The local wildlife will definitely thank you. They're most at risk from plastic waste which often ends up being washed onto our beaches. According to research, 700 marine species are threatened by plastic debris. Fish mistake small pieces of plastic as food. Sea birds will scavenge for food along shorelines and eat almost everything. Whales have been killed from eating plastic bags and turtles have been found to inhaled plastic straws - it's horrible to think about but it's a very real problem.

You can also join a group of likeminded people for a Great British Beach clean! Marine Conservation Society are passionate about protecting marine wildlife and our beaches with their Beach Watch programme. We teamed up with MCS to clean one of our nearest beaches in Portishead but you can find your nearest beach clean event here.

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

Sophie Cook

Community Manager

Sep 13, 2017