/blog/The Neighbourly blog - Neighbourly Read the Neighbourly blog for all our news, advice and resources about fundraising, volunteering and surplus campaigns
Blog | neighbourly

We're hiring! Customer Service/Admin Support, Neighbourly Food – Temp to Perm

We’re looking for a highly organised, super enthusiastic person to manage the administration across our food surplus redistribution client accounts. You will help with organising, supporting and communicating with fellow team members and our customers, as well as our large network of community causes across the UK and Ireland.


About Neighbourly

Based in central Bristol, Neighbourly is an all-in-one giving platform that connects charities, companies and communities across the UK and Ireland, at scale.

The platform provides a free space for community groups and charities to tell their story and use built in tools to:

  • fundraise online
  • find volunteers
  • receive donations of surplus food and other items

Neighbourly was set up in 2015 by a group of like-minded individuals that believed there was a new way to significantly grow community investment, by making it easier for people to ask for, and to give help. We were one of the UK’s first B Corporations, meaning we’re a for-profit company certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

We currently manage surplus food redistribution schemes for 5 major UK retailers and food manufacturers, helping to ensure good food goes to community causes that can use and share it effectively. 


The Opportunity

  • Your primary focus will be to support the client teams, and our network of community causes to ensure the programmes run smoothly and efficiently.
  • You will be involved in outbound activity to identify causes that can join our schemes, whilst following our vetting and approvals process.
  • You will help with platform testing from time to time to ensure the best user experience.
  • The role is temporary for three months, with a view to becoming permanent after this period.


About you

  • A sunny character with a desire to own projects and contribute towards our fantastic business.
  • Highly organised with the ability to work on multiple projects at the same time.
  • Administrative skills that you are proud of.
  • Ability to be flexible in approach and prioritisation of tasks.
  • Articulate telephone manner and ability to prioritise outbound calls, and handle inbound queries whilst offering great customer service.
  • Willingness to do routine tasks with very strong attention to detail (particularly ones which need 100% accuracy), and follow set processes accurately.
  • Tenacious and deadline-driven.
  • Great Interpersonal skills.
  • Enjoy managing and analysing data.
  • IT skills including an ability to manage and use spreadsheets (Excel).
  • Great grammar and spelling.
  • Social media skills (social is an important part of our business – you have to love Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more!)


Key Responsibilities

  • Researching and matching community causes with retail outlets for food surplus collections, including identifying and building relationships with those in our network, and finding new ones. You will need to be able to work fast in order to meet client KPIs.
  • Vetting and supporting causes in order for them to register efficiently and safely, following set processes.
  • Supporting retail store staff and helping to manage relationships between stores and causes on a daily basis.
  • Keeping full records on all correspondence using SalesForce.
  • Handling inbound enquiries and correspondence.
  • Calling and supporting charity and project leaders to troubleshoot and provide support and advice.
  • Platform testing as needed to ensure the best possible user experience.


Nice to have

  • An understanding and interest in corporate social responsibility, volunteering and philanthropic activities.
  • A knowledge of Salesforce would be an advantage, but is not essential


IMMEDIATE START

To apply, please email a cover note and your CV to zoe.colosimo@neighbourly.com

No agencies please.

Jane

Content Manager

Apr 8, 2019

International Women's Day reflections

leap

As we mark and celebrate another International Women's Day, three of our wonderful team members reflect on this year's theme of #BalanceforBetter and what it means for them..


Rowena Salmon

When reflecting on the theme #BalanceforBetter, I think about the way that our work at Neighbourly pushes society to value what historians and sociologists call 'women's work'. This is the invisible, unpaid labour (going on outside of the 9 to 5) to sustain relationships, provide nourishment and create spaces for families and communities to flourish. When we speak to our community partners, and connect them with support in whatever form, we're doing our bit to redress the balance of where we place value and what kinds of work are worth our time.


Zoe Colosimo

My Granny's 103rd birthday on Saturday was an eye opener (not least because she's 103!) - but it caused me to reflect again on how much society has changed in a short period of time. As a woman who supported the war effort and then continued the fight long after the last shot was fired, to feed and clothe her family, she just could not comprehend why at Neighbourly we help to distribute surplus because she could not understand why surplus existed in the first place. From a time when every last scrap was used, mashed potato was added to butter to make it go further, and clothes darned and patched to extend their life, a recent pattern of behaviour (enforced by the fast-pace of life), has resulted in our demand to have access to food and produce at a moment's notice and our supermarkets have responded, inevitably resulting in surplus stock. Equally with the handle of fast fashion turning and the ever-decreasing price-points for clothes that used to be bought as a staple to get us through the season are now bought for a night out or two and then disposed of...

But today there are still people fighting to survive in our communities. Richard Watts, who chairs the Local Government Association’s resources board, said: “Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost almost 60 pence out of every pound the Government had provided for services" which is a catastrophic decline in support for our grass-roots causes which must be given the best opportunity to survive if our communities are going to be happy, healthy places. At Neighbourly we're incredibly fortunate to be able to do something about it - technology means available produce can easily be matched with local needs ensuring such valuable resources are connected to help reduce the day-to-day struggles of so many.

So a public and personal commitment from me to my Granny - the most determined woman I know and a true role-model - to ensure we treat resources with respect, connecting surplus with those in need, making sure every member of society - man, woman or child has the best chance for surviving another day.


Martha Goudie

I was taught #balanceforbetter by my dad who brought up 3 daughters. Now we 3 are independent women, championing equality through different paths - nursing, social care, motherhood and business for good. I think that we shouldn’t forget to recognise the important part that our male role models play. My father is as a strong a figurehead for gender equality and celebrating the achievements of women as my sisters, female friends and colleagues. Like most significant change, gender equality can only be achieved together. Collaboration is the word :)


A balanced world is a better world - amen to that.

Jane

Content Manager

Mar 8, 2019

Creating your free page on Neighbourly just got easier

A page on Neighbourly can help Charities and Community Groups raise their profile and receive donations of money, time and surplus food/products from our corporate clients. It's also a great place to share stories and all the good work being done to support local communities.

Over the last few months, we’ve been making it even easier for good causes to create a free page on neighbourly.com. Based on feedback from our community, we have released a new step-by-step process to guide people through creating their page and setting up their goals - whether that be food donations, fundraising or volunteer support.


Create your free page in a few easy steps

Following the step-by-step process you can tell us about your organisation and provide an image so people can understand what your organisation does. We also ask for some information about yourself so we can create an account and let you know about all the different opportunities that could benefit you.

You’ll know where you are in the process and what you still need to complete by the steps at the top of the page.


The clever bit…..

We’ve connected with the The Charities Commission and Companies House and can now look-up registration numbers for any Charities and Community Interest Companies (CIC).

When entering a registration number we can search and display the official information and also use those details to pre-populate the name, description, contact details and address - making it even quicker and easier for you:

null

This information is made available under the Open Government License v2.0


Tell us what your organisation needs

Whilst creating a Neighbourly a page you can quickly start fundraising, create a volunteer event or request food surplus from our corporate clients:

null

After you’ve completed steps 1 to 5, just publish your page and share it on your social networks to get started! If you’ve requested food donations, we’ll be in touch to let you know about local stores that can support you.

We’re always busy working with our corporate clients on delivering new community programmes, so rest assured we’ll be in touch as soon as we think there’s something we can help you with.


Ready to get started?

Simply click the link here to start your page: https://www.neighbourly.com/goodcause/new/


Tell us what you think

We hope you find creating your Neighbourly page easy and would love to know what you think. Please email us at support@neighbourly.com.

New features are being developed and released all the time and we are always looking for people to provide feedback. If you would like to join our user testing community please email: product@neighbourly.com.

Jane

Content Manager

Nov 15, 2018

Marks and Spencer, food surplus & community

mems

Marks and Spencer has for a long time been dedicated to making a difference with its ‘Plan A’ vision for a sustainable future. Through this programme, first launched over 10 years ago in 2007, they strive to be a business that has a positive impact on wellbeing, communities and the planet. The program focuses on social and environmental issues and ensuring that by 2025 they are a circular business, generating zero waste – a bold goal that involves all their operations, supply chains and customers.

Since 2012, M&S have been zero-waste-to-landfill across their owned operations in the UK and Republic of Ireland and have made the prevention of food waste a priority. They were the first major retailer to provide live updates via the Neighbourly website on the number of tonnes of surplus food redistributed, and the first to manage a nationwide redistribution scheme through a single platform.

This type of thinking isn’t new to M&S. They’ve always been an innovator and leader in their food operations – pioneering boil-in-the-bag and sachet meals in 1972, then creating Britain’s first chilled instant meal, the much-loved chicken Kiev in 1979. The ease of not having to cook up a meal from scratch suited the working woman and the popularity of the ready-meal soared – an innovation that most certainly changed how we ate as we entered the ‘80s.

Arguably their greatest invention remains the adored packaged sandwich, created by M&S in the spring of 1980. Packaged sandwiches are now a staple in our lives and the industry is booming, its annual worth estimated at £8 billion – so it may seem surprising that the idea had never been tried before, but it hadn’t. Packaged sandwiches were a huge novelty when they started being sold on the Marks and Spencer shop floor for as little as 43p just 37 years ago. Some thought them outlandish – who would pay for something they could just as easily make at home? But they sold, and sold fast. The way that we lived and worked was changing and soon every supermarket was following the trend. In the early 90s, the head of their sandwich department developed M&S’s first dedicated “food to go” section, with its own tills and checkouts, in Manchester. The innovation was a huge success and prefigured the layout of most contemporary supermarkets.

But as we know, the advent of the modern-day supermarket, combined with the changing lifestyles and expectations of consumers has bought about one of today’s biggest environmental challenges – food waste. The total estimate for UK food waste stands at a staggering 10.2 million tonnes. Of that, 7.1 million tonnes are thrown away in our homes – with 70% classed as ‘avoidable’ (meaning every year we put 5.0 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten into our bins, worth an estimated £15 billion). Marks and Spencer are working to address this problem through advancements in the products and packaging that they sell. They engage their customers and encourage them to store and use food more efficiently – for example shoppers have been given tips on how to avoid food waste and the clarity of food date labelling has been improved.

Of the remaining 3.1 million tonnes of UK food waste, 260,000 tonnes come from retail, 1.85 million from manufacturers and around 1 million from hospitality and food service. This waste has been the focus of intense scrutiny in recent years, which has successfully resulted in a 50% increase in the amount redistributed to good causes in just two years, according to WRAP. This brings the 2017 total to the equivalent of 102 million meals redistributed – to the value of £130 million.

Marks & Spencer’s approach to food waste is comprehensive and they have committed to reducing food waste by 20% by 2020 and becoming a zero-waste business by 2025. Their primary aim is to reduce the amount of waste created in the first place and they’ve invested in new stock forecasting and planning systems as well as comprehensive supplier engagement schemes. They’ve also increased the volume of short life food sold at a discount to customers and this process now consistently clears most of the products that would otherwise have been disposed of. After redistributing whatever possible to good causes through the Neighbourly platform, any remaining surplus goes to anaerobic digestion (a process that turns food waste into electricity – some of which is bought back to power M&S stores) – absolutely nothing goes to landfill. 

To date, M&S stores have donated around 5.6 million meals to local communities through the Neighborly platform. This includes surplus baked goods, cupboard items, fruit, vegetables and chilled food (meat, dairy, fish, frozen food, ready meals, juices, sandwiches). They also donate flowers and non-food surplus like cleaning products, laundry items and toiletries. Their stores are connected to more than 850 local charities across the UK where meals, food parcels and a helping hand are provided to those who need it.

Through Neighbourly, every store is partnered with a nearby group such as a community café, foodbank or homeless shelter that receives daily alerts to let them know when surplus is available. Thanks to these donations, charity partners can benefit from their resources going a little further, enabling them to provide fresh items, fruit and vegetables to people in the community who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. The stores also provide wider support to their local charities through their year-long Local Charity Fundraising and annual volunteering programmes.

Here are just a few of the local causes that M&S support through Neighbourly:

Whitechapel Centre is the leading homelessness and housing charity in Liverpool supporting people to get back on their feet and providing them with a hot meal and a kind smile. Local M&S stores (and other retailers) give their unsold food to the centre so that this service can be provided. The charity also gives advice on housing, employment and basic facilities for the homeless. They are committed to helping people who are sleeping rough, living in hostels or struggling to manage their accommodation find a home and learn essential independent living skills. They work closely with each individual to get them the right help.

Norwich Food Hub collect surplus food from many stores in the area to redistribute it to community groups and local charities across the city. The hub was born from Director Rowan van Tromp’s passion surrounding environmental sustainability within the food supply chain and realisation that there was a lack of this type of service in the area. They receive and sort the food surplus before redistributing it to the vulnerable people across the city who are living at or below the breadline. Sadly, food poverty is a large issue in Norwich but the food hub’s work to redistribute surplus food is helping to lessen the problem.

In Yeovil, the community meals service delivers hot meals for the elderly or those who struggle to cook for themselves. Their meals are homemade and delivered by volunteers to people who might be suffering with dementia or physical issues that prevent them from cooking. Through this service carers are given a break from the task of preparing dinner by having a hot meal delivered instead, taking the strain away and brightening people’s days.


Nowadays we find that most businesses are actually doing more to change on the inside than many people appreciate, and M&S continues to lead from the front as customer expectations about what kind of companies they want to support change. As M&S colleagues continue to challenge why more can't be done, we at Neighbourly are continually working on solutions that connect their contribution so that customers notice and want to know how they can join in. We're extremely proud of our 4+ year partnership with M&S and how we've proved that a national business can indeed make a local difference in every community it serves.

For more information on Plan A, have a look at corporate.marksandspencer.com/plan-a


How to get involved in the M&S surplus scheme

Marks and Spencer are continuing to expand their food surplus scheme, making sure they can donate as much food surplus as possible and make a positive impact in the community. If you have a charity or community cause that could regularly collect surplus, you should join the Neighbourly platform and create a free page for your group. Your organisation will need a Level 2 (or equivalent) food hygiene certified no longer than 2.5 years ago. For chilled collections, you’ll need cool bags or boxes, freezers for storage and volunteers to collect after store closing in the evening.



Sep 18, 2018

Neighbourly calls for charities to join its food surplus scheme

nw bristol foodbank

PRESS RELEASE, 19 September 2018

Giving platform Neighbourly has today put out a call inviting charities, food projects, schools and community groups to join its free food surplus redistribution scheme. Neighbourly is the redistribution partner to retailers and manufacturers including Marks & Spencer, Lidl and Danone

Through the Neighbourly platform, the equivalent of more than 7.5 million meals has been distributed to over 1,500 charities and community projects in local communities across the UK and Ireland.

Now Neighbourly is extending the scheme to more communities whose residents and families are suffering from food poverty and insecurity. The latest research from WRAP shows that food redistribution from commercial sources (retailers, manufacturers and hospitality and food services businesses) has increased by 50% in just two years but that there is potential for increased redistribution. One of the things that is needed for this to happen is for more charities to be aware that this resource is available to them and join up to benefit from the scheme. 

Neighbourly’s own research – from surveying its food surplus recipients – shows just how important receiving surplus is to them. On average, charities reported that they save an estimated average of £161 a month through these food donations and 90% find the Neighbourly food surplus schemes beneficial or extremely beneficial. 

Food surplus available for daily collection includes fruit and veg, bakery products and ambient food (food which can be safely stored at room temperature in a sealed container). It is also possible for charities to collect chilled items from some stores - dairy, meat, fish, chilled drinks and packaged ready meals, as long as they can meet certain criteria for safe collection, transportation and storage of chilled goods. 

“While the Neighbourly platform has distributed the equivalent of more than 7.5 million meals over the past three years, it’s imperative that we keep building knowledge across the sector that this valuable resource is available” Nick Davies, Neighbourly’s founder, added. “We invite charities of all shapes and sizes to join, from small community groups right through to larger charity networks, who in particular are able to put chilled items to good use. So much of the food surplus supply chain is as yet untapped. The Neighbourly food surplus scheme is free and easy for charities and community food projects to get involved with, so we encourage them to sign up.”  


To sign up to receive food surplus, charities and not-for-profits should to register with Neighbourly or email food@neighbourly.com. Groups must have a food hygiene certificate in order to collect the surplus.

 

Chilled food donations criteria 

In order to collect chilled food donations (meat, fish, dairy, ready meals, chilled drinks), charities must be able to meet the following criteria:

  • Level 2 (or equivalent) food hygiene certificate and/or FSA rating (4 stars or above) certified no longer than 2.5 years ago
  • Cool-boxes or cool-bags or refrigerated vehicles for transportation of donated items
  • Fridge/freezer space for immediate storage at premises

 


Sep 18, 2018

How to get fit and do good

We know how it is: you are busy. Not only are you trying to make a living, you also have to fit in your social life, keep in contact with your loved ones and stay fit and healthy. Doing good? Well, sometimes there’s just no time.

This is where GoodGym comes in.

GoodGymers get fit by doing good. Instead of expending energy in gyms and on treadmills, they put their energy into our local community. Combine this with getting to do it with a bunch of like-minded individuals and you have a three-in-one combo - socialising, keeping fit and volunteering - tick, tick, tick.


Image

And once you get a taste of GoodGym, you will see that it’s so much more than just a way of increasing your step-count. As well as weekly Group Runs to help a local community project, GoodGym focuses on helping vulnerable older people through tackling loneliness and isolation.

Runners can get involved in Coach Runs, where they get paired with an isolated older person that they run to visit once a week. You can also go on Missions, running in a pair to help an older person with a one-off task, such as moving their bed downstairs or clearing their garden.

GoodGym leaves regular running clubs behind it in a puff of good-willed smoke. It becomes a way to connect with your community while achieving your own fitness goals and making a real difference to local people and your area.

And for the community groups that need that help? GoodGym knows how stretched they can be - funds have been cut, volunteers don’t have much time, there is often so much to do you don’t know where to begin.

GoodGym can help: they are always looking for new projects to support, and really know how true the saying ‘many hands make light work’ can be. They help everything from established charities to one-person community projects. Get in touch to get support from the group and you could have a bunch of runners volunteering for you in no time. 

Shona is Trainer of GoodGym Bristol. GoodGym has locations all across England and in Cardiff. To get involved with your local GoodGym as a runner or to get help from your local group, take a look at the website: www.goodgym.org

Shona Buchanan

Community engagement

Aug 1, 2018

How To: Help Your Local Park

Image

Summer is upon us so now’s the perfect time to get your shorts on and venture outdoors into the sunshine.

You’re probably already headed off to your local park to enjoy the scenery and the sun’s rays, but did you know our beloved green spaces are under threat from budget cuts? Hundred’s of children’s playgrounds have already been closed across England by local authorities, with many more to go before the year is out. In Bristol, it’s planned that by 2019 parks in the city will have all their funding stopped completely.

So what does this mean for us? Without funding, our parks lose their protection, become less maintained, dirty and even dangerous. Disused and unloved spaces become hot spots for nefarious activity and can eventually be sold off for development, lost forever to another concrete tower block or car park.

What do our parks give us? How valuable are they to us? We know they have an effect on our mental well being as well obviously a great place to exercise and socialise. They’re a place for children and families to enjoy picnics, play or maybe sitting in quiet solitude. They help reduce heat in urban built up areas. They’re a central, cultural hub for entire cities and a safe place for our wildlife.

There are plenty of community groups on Neighbourly actively helping their communities by putting their own time and resources into their local parks. Friends of Sandringham Park plants flowerbeds, seeds and plants to help attract wildlife and bees. They also hold regular litter picks to keep the park clean and even work with local youth to help deter anti-social behaviour in these areas. Sutton Coldfield & Erdington Park Rangers work hard to preserve the conservation nature value of public open spaces and Sutton Park National Nature Reserve.

Here are a few of own suggestions on how you can get out there and help your local park.

1 Gardening – you can make a start by getting your fingers green and helping with general maintenance of your local park grounds. By planting more flowers, shrubbery and trees you’ll encourage wildlife back into the area and provide a beautiful space for locals to spend time in. Just make sure to check what you’re planting in case that species is harmful to other plants, animals and people.

2 Litter picks – a seemingly inevitable part of everyday life these days… a litter pick keeps your local park clean and tidy and is not only aesthetically pleasing but encourages a safer home for wildlife and children. We all know what a problem plastic pollution has become, but people will also be less likely to discard their litter in a cleaner environment than one already strewn with wrappers and plastic bottles.

3 Hold park fundraisers – fun and games, exercise classes, cake sales etc. These are all activities are parks are brilliant venues for. They get people outside into a healthier environment and give people the opportunity to socialise and connect. These are also great ways to reach out to your local community and speak to them about the importance of raising funds to keep the area maintained.

4 Start a Friends Of group – many parks may already have their own group so it’s worth looking into joining yours or if not, start up a new one!

Now’s the time to get started! If you have any tips on how to help your local green spaces then share them with us by Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We can’t wait to hear your suggestions.


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.


Jul 13, 2018

A look back at #MarksinAction – Marks and Spencer’s epic volunteering programme

June 2018 saw Marks and Spencer take on their #MarksinAction volunteering campaign in partnership with Neighbourly, which involved thousands of staff across the country lending a helping hand to over 685 community projects. The programme, which ran from the 18th to 22nd June, brought local stores and charities together to benefit the local community. During the week, over 5,000 staff spent over 40,000 hours participating in transformation projects nationwide, including refurbishing spaces and gardens, helping with food redistribution projects and giving skills-based support.

The feedback has been amazing, with so many tweets and messages of thanks from the charities about the transformations that happened. Here are just a few of the wonderful projects that took part.

Cliff Top Kennels Re-forming Centre, Scarborough

This small, dedicated charity work to re-home unwanted, abandoned and stray dogs with a loving family. On 20th June, eight M&S volunteers revamped a static caravan used for charity committee meetings for training some of their rescue dogs and also created a beautiful garden in front. M&S provided a £500 donation for the materials to complete the project and volunteers got to work stripping wallpaper and re-covering walls, as well as weeding and planting flowers to transform the caravan and the land around it. The staff at Cliff Top Kennels Re-homing Centre said: “All of us would like to say a massive thank you to the team from M&S Scarborough who spent the day with us on Wednesday as part of M&S Making Every Moment Special campaign. You worked so hard, were a pleasure to work alongside and have made a huge difference. We really appreciate it."


cliff top


Remember When Group and Carers Café, Leeds

In Leeds, this group supports people with dementia and their carers, though activities that stimulate the brain. They meet once a fortnight and promote wellbeing and fun through their range of activities such as walking, quizzes, chatting, movement to music and singing. As part of #MarksinAction, a group of M&S volunteers helped to renovate a room in an old pub to be used as a community centre. Staff cleaned, tidied and painted the room to provide the charity with the ability to expand their popular table tennis group. Remember When Group and Carers café were thrilled with the volunteers efforts: “It’s great to see business supporting the voluntary sector. Thank you to the Guiseley M&S team for making such a huge difference to our room. It has been tidied, cleaned, painted and bunting added. It looks completely different and amazing. We'll be having the table tennis there from now on."


remember when


Embankment Garden, Broadstairs

This project, run by the charity Broadstairs Town Team, saw staff transform an unused piece of land to be used and loved by community members. By improving this open space in the heart of the town, it will improve wellbeing and access to open spaces by under-represented groups. M&S staff helped on the 18th June to create a quiet space for plants and wildlife by tidying, painting, wedding and planting garden borders. Broadstairs Town Team said: “We are lucky enough to be part of the Neighbourly scheme, and a fabulous group of volunteers from the local Thanet Marks and Spencer came to help. It was a fantastic effort from everyone - working in very warm conditions, so much weeding, clearing and support for our project. Thank you to everyone that came and have made such a difference. It looks so much better!"



Broadstairs 1Broadstairs 2Broadstairs 3

See more photos from the Embankment Garden transformation.


Nationwide, over 685 charities and community groups were helped by their local Marks and Spencer stores as they embarked on one of their most ambitious volunteering programmes yet.

Carmel McQuaid, M&S Head of Sustainable Business, Plan A at M&S, explains how there's huge benefits for the business too: "Volunteering isn't just for retirement. There’s a popular misconception that people with full time jobs haven’t got the time to volunteer. Not only do they have to work full time, but the time it takes to research and organise an opportunity can put people off. However, it's certainly not how we see it here at M&S. Yes, our priority is to ensure the shop floor is always fully staffed, and we need to make sure the customer service centre is always manned and the website can never go down. But with good planning and thinking differently about how we deliver volunteering opportunities, it can be used to motivate colleagues and bring out the best in them. Volunteering adds value in many ways - teaching new skills, helping people learn how to problem solve, fostering social connections and ultimately improving job satisfaction and wellbeing."

See more inspiring stories of what 40,000 hours can achieve in one week on the #MarksinAction hashtag.

See all the projects involved on the Neighbourly campaign page.


Article contributed by Emma Dunn


Jul 10, 2018

New calculations for reporting on the amounts of food surplus redistributed

Image

Most organisations involved in the redistribution of surplus food, including Governments and the charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) are currently reporting on the amounts of food that are redistributed – usually in tonnage and a conversion of that tonnage into its ‘meals’ equivalent. On the Neighbourly website we record surplus in tonnes, and then convert this to number of meals to display on our company and branch pages. The Courtauld 2025 Redistribution Working Group, led by WRAP, have recently agreed that there is inconsistency in how the amount of food redistributed is being conveyed by the different parties involved and that this should be addressed.

There are two main ways the amounts of food redistributed are referred to:

·        As a weight (tonnes; kilogrammes)

·        As an equivalent number of meals

So far, a range of different factors for the conversion of weight into the number of equivalent meals have been used (for example 450g, 500g, 700g), which has made comparisons and reporting difficult. Following consultation with the Working Group, a review of relevant scientific literature and reference books and discussion with Public Health England, WRAP has recommended the use of 420g as a guide for the ‘average’ meal size, for the purposes of illustrating the amounts of food being redistributed. There is currently no official figure for an ‘average’ meal weight (due to the many factors that influence that, such as the meal occasion, the meal type, the individual), but there is research that can be used to create a sensible figure for expressing food surplus as ‘meal equivalents’.

In line with WRAP’s recommendation, Neighbourly will now be reporting meal equivalents using 420g as a meal size – giving 2,381 meals from 1 tonne of surplus. It’s important to note that this number is a guide only – it does not imply that this many balanced meals could be made from the food surplus but illustrates what the amount of food surplus might equate to.

To date (June 2018) the Neighbourly food surplus scheme has supported the redistribution of over 2,360 tonnes of surplus food, the equivalent of around 5.6 million meals, using this new calculation.

Further information can be found on the WRAP website.


Jun 28, 2018

M&S launches #MarksinAction

mems

This month sees Marks & Spencer launch one of their biggest, most ambitious volunteering programmes to date. During one week only from 18th to 22nd June M&S, in partnership with Neighbourly, will facilitate the mass mobilisation of thousands of colleagues across the country. Inspired by programmes like DIY-SOS, small teams from stores are coming together to deliver transformation challenges set by local charities.

Projects have been created that will create a lasting benefit to a local charity or community organisation and a huge range of events have been planned – from revamping community centres, to hosting tea parties for vulnerable members of the community, to visual merchandising of charity shops. Overall, the programme is delivering opportunities for over 5,000 staff, involving over 40,000 volunteer hours & over 685 community projects – from Scotland all the way down to Cornwall and across to Ireland. Each charity is also being given a donation to help make the event a success.

Here are some wonderful examples…


Farms for City Children Garden Transformation

This farmstead dating back to 1284, on a headland near St David's is the most westerly farm in Wales. At Lower Treginnis, Farms for City Children works in partnership with organic farmer Rob Davies, who keeps 850 sheep and a small herd of Hereford X calves on the surrounding land.

Farms for City Children was founded in 1976 by children’s author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare, and since this time the charity has expanded to have three farms, of which Lower Treginnis is one. The charity offers children the opportunity to live and work together for a week at a time on a real farm in the heart of the countryside. It is an intense, ‘learning through doing’ experience of a different life – for children who may not know where their food comes from and have limited opportunities to explore the outside world. This project aims to enhance their experience and give children an opportunity to see various stages of growth with the plants. They get the chance to look after the gardens whilst staying on the farm. In addition, the children help look after poultry, horses, donkeys, goats and a breeding herd of pigs. The Pembrokeshire farm currently has 1,000 children staying on it every year, along with their teachers, as they come out from cities to see where their food comes from and how farms work. This event on Friday 22nd June will involve M&S volunteers making hanging baskets for the walled garden and courtyard, as well as creating new garden beds for the larger garden for the inner-city children to enjoy while they stay on the farm.



Lower Treginnis - Farms for City Children


Summer Solstice Afternoon Tea at the Salvation Army Penrith

This charity are the food bank distributors in Penrith, Cumbria. They allocate food to the needy in the area and also run events throughout the week, and church services on a Sunday. To celebrate the arrival of summer, they are putting on a tea party for the local community on summer solstice, Thursday 21st June. On the day, M&S volunteers will spend the morning sorting through food donations and prepare food parcels to be distributed to local vulnerable people, whilst the venue will be busy with a toddler group. In the afternoon, the group will then prepare food for a tea party, lay tables, serve and talk to people from across the community.



foodbank


Loveworks, Surrey

Loveworks exists to help people experiencing food poverty, social isolation/loneliness or domestic abuse. They also help give a confidence boost to young people to help them unlock their potential. They give six weeks support from their three food banks in Reigate and Merstham – last year helping 1100 people including 330 children. Last year they also launched The Merstham Mix community café to help more people and tackle a growing food waste problem in the community. As well as this they run a ‘cuppa tea club’ which supports older people, providing opportunities for excursions and different activities each month. The club is run by volunteers who sit, chat and be social with guests providing an opportunity for older people to be active and social. For young adults they offer both 1-2-1 personal development coaching and group workshops for those who may be struggling with confidence and transitioning into further education or the work place. M&S will be working with Loveworks on Friday 22nd June to get the orders ready for its Saturday food bank in Merstham, where locals will be coming to collect food to take home to their families. Then back at the charity’s offices, M&S volunteers will also compile information packs for two of Loveworks’ major fundraising events over the weekend.



loveworks


We’d like to wish all the charities and volunteers a fabulous week!


Follow all the action on #MarksInAction


Jun 18, 2018