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Mental Health Awareness Week: Local Good Causes Using Nature to Heal

11 May 2021
mental health awareness 2021

This week, as part of the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re shining a light on some of the work of local good causes that are supporting the mental health of their local communities.

The pandemic has really taken its toll over the past year and, for small charities and good causes across the country, mental health has become a growing concern. 

The most recent community insights from our Spring 2021 survey found that over half of Neighbourly-registered good causes were either very or extremely concerned for the mental health of their service users.

These include not just mental health charities or groups you might associate with supporting people with their mental health, but include food banks, religious organisations, schools, youth clubs and a vast array of other types of good cause that often work to plug the mental health support gap faced by so many in our local communities.

Out into nature

With this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme being ‘Nature’, we’re celebrating three good causes that have been using nature and the great outdoors to bolster happiness and wellbeing in those that need it most.

Harehills in Bloom

harehills in bloom

Harehills in Bloom, a community group based in Leeds, was set up by local residents to tackle the problem of litter and fly tipping in the network of alleyways connecting the neighbourhood. Before long, its green-fingered mission was able to improve the environment and boost the wellbeing of local people far and wide.

Jenny Drew, a Harehills co-ordinator explains: "Harehills in Bloom have from the start wanted to improve the quality of the few green spaces we have in inner Leeds and introduce greenery to grey corners and streets for the benefit of the whole community. During action days, the transformation of fly tipped corners and neglected greenspaces bring people together - and for those overlooking the spaces, we have quite literally brought nature to their doorsteps.”

“By brightening up the area with plants and flowers [we’re] brightening up people's minds too”

For Jenny, one particular resident stands out. She explains: “An elderly resident living by the Edgware green space that we have worked on for several years told us he was now getting up early to count all the different species of butterfly that had visited the meadow. 

“This space was once a neglected grassy area where people would empty their dog litter and fly tip. It now has an orchard, edible hedge, spring bulbs and wild flowers.”

Reflecting on the impact these changes have on the wellbeing of the local community, Jenny concludes: “We are a small group, doing what we can to change the look of a poverty stricken area by brightening up the area with plants and flowers, and thereby brightening up people's minds too.”

Nature Vibezzz

nature vibezzz

A year-on from the start of the pandemic, where so many young people are finding themselves in crisis and unable to access specialist support, projects like Nature Vibezzz are essential to local communities in championing the mental health and happiness of their youngest citizens - giving them the tools to support their own inner wellbeing as they grow and develop into adulthood.

“Being outdoors allows us to find our inner confidence”

Set in the South of London, Nature Vibezzz provides a forest school for local children - along with environmental education and practical nature conservation for the local community.

Telling us more about the impact of the Forest School, Nature Vibezzz Chairman Eric Mbiada explains “A lot of the young people we work with live in flats, are not comfortable with nature and often don’t want to get their hands in the soil. After two or three sessions [at the forest school], that completely changes and we see a real improvement in their confidence and self-esteem. 

“Our work has great benefits to both the physical and mental health of our participants. Being outdoors allows us to find our inner confidence and the connection between ourselves physically and emotionally. Several studies confirm that time spent outdoors or in nature related activities can improve children’s mental and physical health. 

“Our activities are crucial for participants who are coming out of lockdown, reinforcing their adapting and thriving capacity. It will be especially beneficial for families with young children who have been living through the crisis in cramped conditions."

Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust

edinburgh lothians greenspace trust elgt

Edinburgh and the Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) is a charity that both works to improve green spaces such as parks and woodland - and inspire local communities to boost their wellbeing through the power of the great outdoors.

“[Taking part in] activities in local greenspaces can really help people to relax and reduce stress”

ELGT Organiser Richard Darke said: “ELGT has been promoting the mental health benefits of nature and using local greenspaces for over 10 years. We have been seeing an increase in the positive impact it has on early intervention and prevention of long-term health conditions.”

Through a whole range of projects across Edinburgh and the Lothians - the charity gets people of all ages and walks of life out and about, planting trees, pruning community gardens, learning about nature and so much more.

Richard adds: “The Trust’s events and activities in local greenspaces can really help people to relax and reduce stress. They also provide opportunities to interact and learn about nature which has a positive effect on people with mental health issues.”

Mental Health and Beyond

This Mental Health Awareness Week we at Neighbourly want to thank the thousands of local groups like these and acknowledge the wide-reaching impact not only on mental health and wellbeing - but so much more.

Mental Health UK research has shown that 45% of people reported being in green spaces had been vital for their mental health during the pandemic. Not only that, but green spaces have also been shown to reduce stress rates and associated crime levels within communities. 

Supporting programmes run on behalf of our business partners have the potential to help our communities make huge strides at a hyper-local level as grassroots causes know exactly what their local areas need to thrive.

Ensuring local good causes have the tools and funds to optimise both the mental and physical health and happiness of communities will in time snowball - improving the health of society, the economy and the planet.

If you’re a business that’s interested in finding out more about supporting local good causes, click the blue ‘find out more’ button below or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Remote volunteering – simple ways to make a big difference for communities

15 April 2021
remote volunteering micro volunteering day

The power of volunteer support across the UK has been vital since the start of the pandemic, with people of all ages stepping up to support all kinds of good causes and charities. Remote volunteering has been an important part of this – with a growing number of businesses enabling their employees to give their time and skills to help good causes from their homes and workplaces. 

But with communities continuing to struggle with poverty, hunger, unemployment, and homelessness, we can’t afford for this vital volunteer support to stop now. We must maximise volunteering as a critical resource to help our communities to recover and rebuild.

Remote volunteering offers people a simple, safe and flexible way to make a positive impact. It means that employees can support good causes wherever they might be based – all while fitting around other time commitments.

By matching employee’s relevant skills with the needs of charities and good causes, businesses can help sustain their support for their community – while also providing their staff with fulfilling ways to make a meaningful difference.

There are a whole range of ways to get involved, including:

  • Marketing, communications and fundraising: helping charities with their online fundraising, whether that’s setting up fundraising pages, or creating a fundraising campaign – as well as practical skills support on areas such as social media engagement.

  • Employability mentoring: running workshops with young people looking for work, including CV writing tips, how to get into a career, and interview practice – which is a particularly good fit for the skills of HR teams.

  • Logistical and IT support: with charities stretched for time, providing administrative support to help update their websites, databases or security settings can be a huge help. For example, employees at Danone helped community kitchens set up processes to support their emergency food distribution and volunteer rotas.

  • Letter-writing companionship: writing letters to isolated people at risk of loneliness, who would greatly appreciate a letter to help provide companionship and comfort. Samsung’s staff have pledged to send 1,000 letters to help brighten people’s lives, ranging from words of kindness to jokes and poems.

Taking part in remote volunteering helps employees feel engaged and connected to communities, as well as increasing their pride in their employer – all of which is especially important while many continue to work from home. Previous Neighbourly research showed that 80% of employees who volunteered said the experience made them happier – and 100% felt proud to work for their company as a result of volunteering.

Hyper-local causes are the backbone of our communities – from food banks and elderly care services to children’s hospices and homelessness groups. But they need continued support in order to keep providing their vital services to people who need it most.

Neighbourly’s network of front-line community partners have told us how much they value the support of remote volunteers, particularly as they continue to contend with increased demand for their services alongside reductions in face-to-face volunteering. 

To get your organisation started:

  • Identify the most relevant volunteering opportunities for your employees – what are the areas you specialise in, and what skills can your employees offer from home? Engage with your employees and understand what motivates them.

  • Establish how and when – how much time do your employees have to commit, and when? Can you make volunteering time formally available and encouraged, if you don’t already?

The pandemic has strengthened all of our bonds with our communities – and we all have a crucial part to play as we collectively rebuild from the crisis. By channelling skills into local organisations who are already doing vital work, we can help to ensure the right support reaches the most at-risk people. 

Read more about remote volunteering

Raconteur Sustainable Business Report launches today

6 April 2021
the times sustainable business report raconteur 2021

Today marks the launch of the Raconteur Sustainable Business Report 2021, a report that brings together the key research, knowledge and thought-leadership driving the future of sustainable business - including an article from Neighbourly’s own CEO Steve Butterworth and COO Zoe Colosimo.

This exclusive report, published in The Times, also addresses some of the challenges facing sustainable business and offers expert advice on how to tackle these issues.

What to expect from the report

On page 7, Steve and Zoe address how creating localised impact fuels trust in business, along with how local communities are proving the solution to global problems, referencing Neighbourly-commissioned YouGov research on the additional trust formed in businesses that support local good causes.

Other themes and features within the report include:

  • Feature interview with Nigel Topping. What practical steps can companies take to truly reach Net Zero within their given timeframes?

  • Balancing sustainability with shareholder expectations. How can business leaders juggle the expectations of their shareholders and board members with sustainability efforts?

  • Green premiums. A realistic plan to drive for net zero carbon for businesses.

  • Taking a vaccine approach to sustainability. How can companies think innovatively about social impact?

  • Becoming a B-Corp. Is it right for your business, pros and cons

Women lead the way in supporting our local communities

8 March 2021
international women's day 2021

Today is International Women’s Day - a day for celebrating the achievements of women in a world that has a lot of work still to do to overcome gender inequality. This year the theme is #ChooseToChallenge. 

Aptly put on the International Women’s Day website, “a challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.”

In response to this year’s theme, we wanted to take a moment not only to celebrate the successes and achievements of women in the small charity and community cause sectors - but also to take note of the challenges they face as they work to support those in need in our local communities.

Our most recent community survey of over 2,200 local good causes registered on Neighbourly took a deep dive into the makeup of the people that run the charities and groups through the platform.

The results showed that it’s majoritively women running these grassroots community causes with 73% of group leads identifying as female.

7/10 IWD2021

It would be easy to assume that all these women are volunteers, carrying out this vital community work in their spare time. In fact, 17% of female respondents were the founders of their organisation. 

What’s more, if you add together the most senior leadership roles within organisations (e.g. founders, directors, trustees and senior managers etc), women take up almost half of those roles (43%). A further 20% are working as managers and 20% as staff members. Just 11% of female respondents are volunteers.

For females from a black or minority ethnic background, the shift to leadership roles was even greater with 53% in senior leadership roles.

IWD2021 female roles

That is in stark contrast to the for-profit business sector where, according to the gender statistics database, even some of the largest companies in the European Union have poor female representation in leading roles. In 2020, just 19.3% of executives and 7.9% of CEOs were women - and that’s not even accounting for other factors such as race and ethnicity.

Of course, community organisations are not immune to this bias. Male respondents only made up 26% of respondents of our survey - yet a greater proportion (60%) are in a senior leadership role.

That said, in an industry that works at a local level, it’s critical that the support structures in place - whether through small charities or informal community groups - are reflective of the communities they serve. So it’s incredibly encouraging to see that these grassroots groups are able to defy bias and self-organise in a more representative way to fight for the changes that matter to their communities.

Unofficial contributions

Whilst the leadership makeup of small charities and good causes is showing promising progression in this sector, it’s important to consider the extent of the work that’s being done.

For example, 34% of female respondents (excluding trustees) reported that they were not paid for the work that they do. With around 9% carrying out some paid and some unpaid voluntary work.

When looking solely at women in senior leadership roles overall, the percentage who are unpaid actually increases, to 41%. For female good cause founders, just 16% reported that they are in a paid role.

unpaid volunteers IWD2021

Structural inequalities run deeper than gender however, with 53 % of women from BAME backgrounds carrying out solely unpaid voluntary work for their organisation. For BAME women in senior leadership roles, this increases to 57% in unpaid voluntary roles.

Full Time Community Heroes

When it comes to the number of hours worked by women in community organisations, those who are unpaid do typically work less than those who are paid. However, that’s not always the case.

Over half (62%) of female unpaid volunteers work 20 hours or less for their organisation, whereas the majority (61%) of female paid staff work 31 hours or more.

Hours worked IWD2021

Nonetheless, a substantial one in ten unpaid female volunteers put in more than 40 hours a week for their organisation - which puts them on par with the average UK full-time worker.

Whether paid or unpaid, it’s clear from these figures that women interacting with Neighbourly through their organisation are putting in significant hours and dedication to their local cause and community and it’s important that this is recognised.

Mounting Pressure

Other community surveys carried out over the past year have shown that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a wide reaching impact on local good causes, leaving them short on funds and time. 

For women responding to this latest survey, two thirds said the Covid crisis had led to them working more hours within their organisation than previously. For women who are unpaid, this increases to 73%. Women from a BAME background are most likely to have had to increase their hours due to Covid at 79%.

covid increased hours IWD2021

Whilst the main motivations for this work are noble and valid - with 84% saying their main reasons are to help people and to make a difference - the amount of unpaid work and increasing pressure put upon the groups supporting our communities is of great significance. 

Communities challenging inequality

The UK Government estimated that the charitable sector’s contribution to the country’s economy is around £17 billion.

However, many of the groups registered on Neighbourly are not registered charities, they are small community groups that were formed by local people in direct response to local need. When these groups are taken into account, the impact is likely far greater.

More recently, a report by Pro Bono Economics revealed the charity sector's contribution to the economy could be as much as £200bn per year when taking the contribution of informal volunteers and wider economic spill-out into account.

Grassroots organisations may be small but they have understanding of and access to local communities at a representative shoulder-to-shoulder level - ultimately giving them the flexibility to deliver the kind of positive change that could unlock all types of inequality in the UK.

Women are leading the way when it comes to fixing structural inequalities within our society from the ground up, but this can’t go on forever. Without support and funding, the positive strides made by women in community leadership positions will only begin to reinforce existing gender inequality and bias around what society deems to be valuable paid work that serves the economy.

We’ll be sharing some broader findings from this survey across the next few weeks, so stay tuned to our blog for updates. You can also stay up to date by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.

Penguin donates a further 29,000 books to local good causes

4 March 2021
penguin book donations start it right

As many an avid reader will know - on World Book Day of all days - reading can offer not only much needed escapism and stress relief but it also bolsters education for children, inspiring imagination, understanding of the world and more.

So we’re very proud to have worked with leading publisher Penguin Books UK to help them distribute almost 30,000 books to our network of good causes in the last few months alone - on top of the 32,000 they donated over the last year.

Over Christmas, Penguin ran an exciting new campaign ‘It Begins With A Book’. Partnering with new independent retailer Bookshop.org, they donated a book to a Neighbourly registered good cause for every book purchased on the lead up to the big day.

Through the campaign, over 14,000 books purchases were made, meaning 14,000 were donated and distributed across 23 local good causes.

Responding to lockdown

Penguin didn’t stop there however. Following the Christmas campaign and the devastating impact of the UK’s abrupt entry into a third national lockdown, the publisher donated a further 15,000 books to an additional 27 good causes, bringing the total number of book donations to 29,000 in just a few short months.

The books have enabled a whole range of good causes across the country to support those in their local community across all ages from children and young people to adults and older people in need.

penguin book donations

Learn to Love to Read, a charity that supports children with reading across the UK was another recipient of Penguin's book donations - and were able to distribute some of them to children at a number of local schools in the area such as Heathmere Primary School (pictured above). 

"The wonderful books we received from Penguin Kids will help inspire a love of reading"

One local school, Smallwood Primary, said on Twitter: "A huge thank you to Learn to Love to Read for our fabulous books donated and delivered yesterday. The children are so excited to pick up a new book and get reading."

Teresa Harris, Founder and Trustee at Learn to Love to Read added: “We’re working to close the word gap for toddlers and support primary age children who are finding learning to read challenging. 

“As well as early literacy classes, parent training and volunteer one-to-one support, we take every possible opportunity to increase children's access to exciting books. This may involve gifting books to encourage reading for pleasure at home, or offering additional resources to our partner schools. 

“A desire to read for pleasure is a major indicator that a child will develop reading fluency, comprehension and confidence, which in turn opens up access to ambitious life opportunities. The wonderful books we received from Penguin via Neighbourly will help inspire this love of reading.”

"The children are so excited to pick up a new book and get reading"

Start It Right CIC, a Croydon-based youth-led organisation received some of Penguin’s books last week, and were able to distribute them to schools in their local area.

They told us: “Start It Right CIC aims to provide exciting opportunities for young people to be more actively involved in their communities. We're delighted to be able to take part in the 'Penguin for Everyone' campaign via Neighbourly and share resource packs and Penguin's children's books to local young people who can make the most of them during these challenging times.”

To find out more about Penguin’s work with Neighbourly. Head to Penguin’s ‘Penguin for Everyone’ and ‘It Begins With A Book’ campaign pages

If you’re a business that’s looking to find out more about making product donations or surplus food donations, head to our ‘Surplus Products’ page. Or click the blue button below, followed by 'Business enquiries' to get in touch.

300,000 food bank donations made in Lidl Tackling Hunger campaign

9 February 2021

Throughout November and early December 2020, customers at Lidl donated 300,000 items of food, including rice, tinned fish and more to local food banks as part of the supermarket chain’s Tackling Hunger campaign.

During the campaign, Lidl stores were matched with a food bank or community cause local to them, with customers able to donate the cost of an item of food by scanning a Tackling Hunger leaflet at the store checkout. Every donation was matched by Lidl, doubling the amount of food donated.

Leaflets, which were available at the store entrance and tills, were available for anything from a packet of cereal at £1.09, to tinned fish at £2.45 or a bag of rice at 85p - making it easier than ever for customers to donate to those in need in their local communities.

“Our Local Pantry is helping feed our 390 member households and their families in Llanrumney, East Cardiff” 

One of the charities to benefit was community and education hub Llanrumney Hall Community Trust, whose volunteers collected the donated food last week from Lidl Cardiff Llandaff. 

Sam Holt of Llanrumney Hall Community Trust said: “Llanrumney Hall Pantry would like to thank Lidl for their contribution through their Lidl Tackling Hunger campaign in support of our Local Pantry which is helping feed our 390 member households and their families living in Llanrumney, East Cardiff.

"The donation will help our Pantry widen the range of items available to our community to pick from in their weekly shop.”


Fair Frome, a charity that works to alleviate the effects of poverty in its local community, were also able to benefit from the campaign through their partnership with Lidl Frome.

“[The donations] will help us reach even more people during these very difficult times”

Chair of Trustees Bob Ashford (pictured above with the donations) said: “Thank you so much to Lidl and their customers for their very generous donation of food totalling 858kg from the Tackling Food Poverty Campaign.

“This will help us reach even more people during these very difficult times. We are delivering some of the food directly to schools today to help families in need.”

Ongoing support

Lidl’s Tackling Hunger campaign launched alongside its regular Feed It Back programme - which has seen almost 7 million meals worth of surplus food donated to local good causes since it began in 2017.

Whilst the Tackling Hunger leaflet scheme came to an end in December, anyone who would like to make a £3 donation to the campaign can still do so by texting ‘Food’ to 70007. You can also donate directly to the Neighbourly Foundation, with all donations going to participating food charities tackling hunger on a local level.

For charities and community groups interested in finding more about collecting surplus food from their local Lidl, please email food@neighbourly.com.

If you’re a business that’s looking to donate surplus food or surplus products to our network of local charities, find out more on the Neighbourly Product Surplus page.

Neighbourly wins Edie Sustainability Leaders Award

4 February 2021
edie awards

Neighbourly was announced the winner of the Waste and Resource Management Project of the Year at the Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards this week, in recognition of the impact our Product Surplus programme has had across local communities by supporting people in need.

"Never has it been more important to find innovative ways to redistribute surplus food to those in need"

Judges at the awards commented: “Never has it been more important to find innovative ways to redistribute surplus food to those in need during Covid-19. Neighbourly’s Surplus Programme is a scalable and commercially viable approach to making this happen. That Neighbourly has saved 40 million meals from going to waste through this Programme is testament to the value of the approach.”

Sustainable Business

The awards brought together over 300 business leaders to celebrate some of the biggest achievements in sustainable business in the last year - showcasing just how integral it is for successful businesses to integrate both sustainability and social impact into the fabric of their purpose.

Neighbourly CEO Steve Butterworth says: "There’s never been a better time for businesses to lead the way when it comes to both sustainability and in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic across local communities. 

“We're incredibly proud to have been recognised amongst some of the most inspiring people and organisations who are making real and meaningful change happen. For our surplus food and product redistribution programme to have been awarded the Waste and Resource Management Project of the Year is testament not only to the hard work of our team, but to the support of our partners too." 

Along with the award win, Neighbourly was a finalist in one of the awards most competitive categories - the Social Sustainability and Community Development award.

To find out more about how we help businesses support local communities with food and product surplus, head to our Product Surplus page and get in touch to book a demo. You can also stay tuned to our latest news by following us on Twitter @nbrly or via Neighbourly’s LinkedIn page.

Aldi pledges to donate 10 million meals to families facing hunger

13 January 2021
hunger monster aldi 2

This week Aldi released an awareness raising animation, narrated by football star and child food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford, that for the first time personifies the devastating impact hunger can have on children.

The animation comes as part of Aldi’s commitment to donate 10 million meals in 2021 through the Neighbourly Foundation, to support families affected by food insecurity and hunger and combat its devastating effects.

In Aldi’s animation, the constant hunger a child can feel is represented by a Hunger Monster that never leaves the child’s side. Whether they are trying to sleep, play or learn, the monster is always there.

Currently this is the reality for one in every five children in the UK who struggle to access adequate nutrition, which can have a dramatic impact on their day-to-day life, affecting energy to be active and to concentrate on school work.

Rising child hunger

Our most recent survey of over 500 local good causes supporting children and families revealed that the problem of child hunger is only getting worse, with the impact of Covid-19 felt acutely across many local communities.

aldi hunger monster 1

Those that replied to the survey reported that the demand for food provision for families has increased by as much as 71% in the past six months. A staggering 96% of the children they are supporting are missing meals at least once a week, with 42% going without food three times a week and an upsetting 14% of children missing a meal every single day.

“2021 is a time to level the playing field once-and-for-all”

It’s clear that now is the time to act to make sure no child continues to suffer without adequate food and nutrition - with Aldi’s emotive campaign showing it is as much about raising awareness as it is about taking action.

Giles Hurley, Chief Executive Officer at Aldi UK and Ireland, said about the initiative: “At Aldi we’re making it our mission to fight against child food poverty as no child should ever go hungry. Not only are we pledging to donate 10 million meals throughout 2021 to families that need it, this campaign also aims to help raise awareness of the increasing number of families struggling to put food on the table.

“We were delighted for Marcus Rashford MBE to be the voice of the boy, which shows just what an important issue it is to us all.”

Marcus Rashford, added: “Reading the script for the Aldi animation I felt like I was talking about myself 10 years ago. This story is a reality for millions of children across the UK so, of course, I was happy to lend my voice. I'm proud to call Aldi a Founding Member of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce. Aldi has continued to take active steps to combat the issue of child food poverty and I would encourage everyone to get involved in their pledge to donate 10 million meals. 2021 is a time to level the playing field once-and-for-all."

Aldi’s 10 million meals pledge launches today. For more information visit the Aldi website or support the campaign by donating the cost of a meal via the Neighbourly Foundation.

New Central Government contracts must show Social Value

12 January 2021
government procurement social value blog image

From the 1st January 2021, the government has introduced a new ‘Social Value’ procurement policy meaning all businesses awarded Central Government contracts must demonstrate that they can offer social value in the delivery of that contract.

This represents an exciting step forward, highlighting not only the importance of businesses' economic value for money but also their ability to support the communities in which they are based - social value.

At Neighbourly we’ve already seen the phenomenal impact businesses can have when building social value into their brand and purpose. By supporting local communities via our network of thousands of local good causes, businesses have already proven they can build in scalable and meaningful impact through the donation of surplus food and products, employee volunteering programmes and financial donation management.

We're therefore pleased to see some of these methods and approaches to social impact adopted and recognised as important and measurable factors for government’s future contract assessments and are looking forward to seeing what kind of effect this will have on local communities and wider business communities in the coming months and years.

Measuring social value

The new social value policy will account for 10% of the score awarded to applicants looking to secure central government contracts.

Social value will be assessed with an emphasis on qualitative evaluation to ensure ‘quality over quantity’ - allowing commercial teams to be able to select objectives that are relevant and proportionate to their procurement.

The Social Value policy has been broken down and modelled using key themes, objectives and outcomes that help describe ‘what good looks like’.

The key themes are as follows: 

  • Help local communities to manage and recover from the impact of COVID-19

  • Create new businesses, new jobs and new skills

  • Increase supply chain resilience and capacity

  • Effective stewardship of the environment 

  • Reduce the disability employment gap

  • Tackle workforce inequality

  • Improve health and wellbeing 

  • Improve community integration

The future for business

It’s never been more important for businesses to take responsibility for ensuring community focussed policies are intrinsic to their purpose - creating a more sustainable and fairer society for all.

Whilst the government’s social value procurement policy is only one part of the puzzle, it is an integral step forward to formally recognising the importance of businesses in supporting the needs of local communities - including a structure for what this might look like. It also represents a telling sign that the economy is moving closer to a model where all types of business, not just those looking to secure government contracts, will need to show social value as well as economic value.

As the new policy comes into play through 2021, we will be continuing to support businesses that are evolving to offer social value to local communities as well as sharing knowledge and insights from this latest government move.

To stay up-to-date, follow us on Twitter @nbrly or via the Neighbourly LinkedIn page.

2 Million Meals donated to families in need this Christmas

6 January 2021
east belfast mission christmas

This year, the Neighbourly platform has recorded 2 million meals donated to local good causes in the lead up to Christmas and New Year.

Through our partnerships with Marks and Spencer, Aldi and Lidl, over 2,000 local good causes collected a total of over 800 tonnes of food in just two short weeks, distributing it to thousands of families, vulnerable people and those facing additional hardships this winter.

"When good people come together they can make a huge difference"

Charities like East Belfast Mission, whose volunteers collected donations from M&S on Christmas Eve - distributing it to over 50 families in East Belfast.

preston united christmas donations

Plus, community groups like Preston United whose volunteers delivered boxes full of festive goodies to those in need - including the ingredients to make a full Christmas dinner. 

They said on Twitter: “This year has been very difficult but when good people come together they can make a huge difference. Thank you for the support for our Christmas Surprise, which helped so many families in need across Preston.”

Even the days between Christmas and New Year, volunteers at Rehoboth Community Outreach Club were still out distributing food and supplies to the most vulnerable. 

They told us on Twitter: "We are out doing drop-offs to local homeless hostels and vulnerable in our community, providing for those in need in South East London. A massive thanks to Neighbourly and Marks and Spencer for their donations over the Christmas holidays.”

Feeding the nation

These examples represent just three of the many thousands of good causes making a huge impact in local communities across the UK and Ireland.

It’s been an incredibly tough year for local good causes looking after the vulnerable in our community - with many more people struggling through the pandemic to afford basic essentials such as food and toiletries, let alone Christmas treats for themselves and their families.

But businesses like M&S, Lidl and Aldi are continually recognising the difference they can make in their local communities through surplus donations, volunteering and fundraising programmes.

Whilst Christmas and the festive season is an important time for sharing and giving, it’s not the only time people need support. As we continue through the winter months and into a third national lockdown, it’s anticipated that more and more people will face hunger and deprivation - needing the support of community groups and food banks to survive.

That’s why we’re continuing to work with our partners in 2021 to develop new programmes to support good causes, so they can continue to work on what’s most important to their communities and offer much needed support to those that need it.

To stay up-to-date on our latest news, follow us on Twitter @nrbly or via the Neighbourly LinkedIn Page.