/blog/The Neighbourly blog | NeighbourlyRead the Neighbourly blog for our latest news, resources and information about our fundraising, volunteering and surplus programmes.

Danone trials Team Remote Volunteering to support local communities

23 November 2020
danone vounteer re,pte 1

Many who’ve worked in an office environment will be familiar with the concept of the ‘Team Building Day’. For Neighbourly’s partners, this is often the perfect opportunity for team volunteering. From revamping community centres to team litter picks, volunteering brings teams together in new ways, to build relationships and have a positive impact on the communities around them.

Yet with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to keep teams separated and working from home, these kinds of activities just cannot be done in the same way.

Despite this, for Danone UK and Ireland, who switched to virtual volunteering earlier this year, teams have been coming together remotely to share their skills with the local causes that mean the most to them - right the way across the country.

Keen to inspire more people to get involved with volunteering remotely, we caught up with three Danone teams who’ve already tried it - along with the charities and community groups they helped. 

The Melissus Project

danone volunteers remote 4

Over in London, Danone’s Corporate Affairs Director Matt Elder and Head of Social Innovation & Sustainability Chris Hillman signed up to volunteer with The Melissus Project - a Manchester-based community interest company that supports people with housing issues and complex needs.

“We spent a hugely rewarding day working with two amazing ladies, Sandra and Amanda, from The Melissus Project.”, they told us.

“The charity compassionately supports vulnerable individuals in Manchester and creates safe spaces run by a dedicated team who care about improving the outcomes for people with very few resources. 

“They provide food and an opportunity to talk and get involved in programmes that build confidence, improve self esteem and develop practical skills to help individuals move from the pavement to paid work.”

melissus project

Sandra and Amanda have backgrounds in Social Care and Nursing and were looking for help to tell their story to help them secure additional funding to help more people. 

Matt added: “All we had to do was listen to their passionate story and create a presentation for them. What is a regular task for us - creating slides - is not for them and they were very grateful for our support.”

And an incredible impact they had too, as Sandra and Amanda explained: “Vulnerable people can feel dehumanized and invisible. We learned from experience that a little time to listen can make a big difference. 

"What a wonderful experience collaborating with Matt and Chris has been. To see them in action working their magic whilst following our discussion was joyous. They have made a world of difference to us.”

Cork ARC Cancer Support House

danone volunteers remote 3

From Danone’s Dublin office, Director of Corporate Affairs Ireland Claire MacEvilly, Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager Aileen Connolly, and Social Innovation & Sustainability Team's Cáit Lynch all teamed up to volunteer at Cork ARC cancer support house.

Cáit explained: “Cork ARC is a wonderful charity that provides a range of services and support to cancer patients and their families. All of their services are free of charge and rely mostly on donations and fundraising to keep running. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, Cork ARC had to cancel most of their fundraising activities this year, so our team spent a day developing a proposal for various ‘lockdown friendly’ fundraising campaigns.”

"It was such a worthwhile experience”, Aileen added. “It was very sobering to think of the challenges charities face in terms of funding, especially now. The work Cork ARC does is inspiring. I hope they found our contributions on the day worthwhile and something they can use going forward. Thanks so much to Danone also for allowing us the time to do such valuable work."

Claire agreed: "It was great to think outside the day job, use skills to benefit others and work with my colleagues, while having a laugh."


Check out some of Cork ARC’s fundraising campaigning via their Facebook page here.

More Trees for Bath and North East Somerset 

danone volunteers remote 2

Meanwhile for Jemma Baker, Lewis Wallis and Amy Jane Valender from Danone’s Regulatory Affairs team, wanting to have a positive impact on their local environment was what got them involved in the More Trees for Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) project.

The community project was set up with the local authority, residents and businesses to make the region an even greener place to live, work and visit. Run entirely by volunteers, the project needed some help with its Community Tree Nurseries campaign this autumn which aims to encourage people to plant as many trees as possible in the region and beyond.

Jemma, Lewis and Amy came aboard in September to offer a full day of remote support on the campaign.

Jemma explained: “Our team had a lovely time helping the non for profit community group More Trees BANES, who work hard to protect and plant trees. We spent time researching avenues they could explore to raise their reach for volunteers and help them 'grow’. 

“As well as needing people to plant and grow the trees, they are looking for a wide range of support such as a project manager, volunteer coordinator, website content manager.”

more tree banes

Amy Jane said: "I had no idea that virtual volunteering could work so well! It was a really positive experience and it feels so good to give back to the community - more than ever in these uncertain times."

Lewis added: “Virtual volunteering was a great way to connect with colleagues whilst providing support for a good cause.”

Thanks to the Danone team’s for all their hard work volunteering and for sharing their experiences with us. You can find out more about Danone’s volunteering on the Danone One Planet One Health campaign page.

Lockdown Fundraising: How Cadent staff raised vital cash for local good causes

18 November 2020
cadent match fundraising

Those who’ve fundraised before will know it can be a challenging affair - with many turning to crazy marathons and wacky events to get their friends and family to part with their cash. 

For staff at the UK's largest gas distribution network Cadent, the Match Giving Programme run through their partnership with Neighbourly means that every penny raised has the opportunity to be doubled - making it much easier to support the little causes that are making a big difference in our communities.

In the midst of a second national lockdown and predictions of a very tough winter ahead, small charities need the hard work of fundraisers now more than ever before. 

Yet despite most of the traditional fundraising events being steadily cancelled due to coronavirus, Cadent team members have still been getting creative to make an impact this year. 

“I decided to climb the height of [Kilimanjaro] using the stairs”
cadent hannah pancreatic cancer

Like Control Engineer Hannah Myatt who raised an incredible £5,250 for  for Pancreatic Cancer UK, topped up by an additional £666 by Match-Giving, by walking the height of Kilimanjaro on her staircase.

Hannah completed the challenge in honour of her mum who has been battling Pancreatic Cancer for the last 7 years.

“I was due to climb the real Kilimanjaro in August however due to lockdown and coronavirus I had to find other ways to raise money", she tells us. 

"I decided to climb the height of the mountain using the stairs instead. Over 4 days I spent 13 hours walking up and down my stairs 2268 times.” 

You can find out more about Hannah's story and donate via her Just Giving page.

cadent gurpreet

During the peak of the first national lockdown, music fan Gurpreet Virk decided to make the most of his friends and colleagues being on social media more than usual, raising £1 for everyone who commented on his pop inspired keyboard recording - raising an impressive £836 for NHS Charities Together.

This was at a time when the charity was supporting thousands of NHS staff through an incredibly tough period in the early months of the pandemic. Match-giving meant that his donation was boosted by a further £400.

Check out Gupreet’s fundraising story and donation page.

cadent catherine and nick

Not everyone's fundraising plans were thwarted by Covid-19 this year though, so for those who are hoping to still get involved in a big event in the future, you might want to take a leaf out of Catherine Allen and Nick Cannon’s boots. 

“The money raised has helped fund our Dementia Advisors who are at the forefront of our services”

The pair raised £1678 - boosted by an extra £800 in match-giving - for Alzheimer’s Society. It was by no mean feat however, with the duo taking part in a 52km walk through the Peak District - with some warming beers in the pub to celebrate afterwards of course.

Take a look at Catherine and Nick’s fundraising page to find out more.

How fundraising makes a difference

During these incredibly challenging times, it’s important to know that every single penny raised makes a huge difference to the charities who benefit. 

Pancreatic Cancer is the tenth most common cancer in the UK, yet research on the disease receives just 1.4% of the total cancer research spend - so the charity really thrives off the hard work of fundraisers like Hannah.

“We can’t thank Hannah enough for the dedication, determination and passion she put into her fundraising over so many days” they said. 

“The money Hannah and all those who generously donated to her challenge have raised will help support people when they need us most and to continue the fight for new and better treatments for the disease by investing in the very best scientific research.”

For Alzheimer’s UK, Cadent’s main charity partner, the hard work of employees from across the Cadent family has meant that a collective £200,000 has been raised so far, which really goes to show how every effort adds up.

“The money raised has helped fund our Dementia Advisors who are at the forefront of our services”, they told us. “They are dementia experts, providing information, offering guidance and directly supporting people affected by dementia day in, and day out.”

Funds for the future

Cadent recognises the detrimental impact that Coronavirus has had on its communities and the charity sector as whole and has now increased its levels of Matched Giving between October and December so its employees can now benefit from four times the amount of additional funding for this period for any UK registered charity.

We’re inspired every day by the incredible efforts of fundraisers out there who’re pushing through the challenges of cancelled plans to raise cash for those in need. Stay tuned to see what the next round of fantastic fundraising efforts will bring.

Penguin will donate a book when you buy one on Bookshop.org this Christmas

17 November 2020

We’re delighted to announce that Neighbourly has partnered with the UK’s largest publisher Penguin Random House UK and online indie bookstore the Bookshop on Penguin’s 2020 Christmas campaign - ‘It begins with a book’.

Books can be a wonderful way to boost confidence, find the perfect recipe or fall asleep to the perfect bedtime story. For so many of us - it begins with a book. But not everyone has equal access to reading.

So, starting from 16th November until the 21st December, for every book purchased by avid readers and their festive pressie purchasing friends and family, Penguin will donate another to those who need it most via local good causes registered on the Neighbourly platform.

“To be able to give the children a present, especially a book they can escape into, is a fabulous thing”

Good causes include UKHarvest, which received books from Penguin during the ‘Penguin for Everyone’ campaign, in which they donated 25,000 books to over 25 good causes across the country.

Stacey Cullen, Director of Operations and Programmes at UKHarvest says: "We have taken our children’s book donations from Penguin out to the domestic refugees we support, where there are over 30 children currently living with their mothers waiting to be rehomed in a safe location. To be able to give the children a present, especially a book they can escape into, is a fabulous thing." 

“We want to share the power of reading and get our books into the hands of those who need them most”

With over 30 titles on offer as part of the campaign, 'It begins with a book' is the perfect opportunity to both support local independent book shops and give someone the gift of reading this Christmas.

Becca Sinclair, Communications & Brand Director at Penguin Random House UK tells us: “At Penguin Random House, our mission is ‘we make books for everyone because we believe a book can change anyone’. 

“That change can be large or small, profound or simple, long-lasting or fleeting. Many of us have been turning to books through the pandemic, be it for information, entertainment or escapism. We want to share the power of reading and get our books into the hands of those who need them most, while continuing to honour our commitment to support independent bookshops through this challenging time.”

Supporting local

Bookshop.org is a new independent online retailer, which gives consumers the option of buying books online while supporting their local independent bookseller. A portion of the profits from each sale via the platform go either to a nominated local bookshop or contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among participating indies.

Nicole Vanderbilt, UK Managing Director at Bookshop.org adds: "We are delighted to be part of this campaign which will allow book buyers both to support independent bookshops and to get books into the hands of grassroots good causes across the country. We were founded with the belief that books and bookshops are vital to a healthy culture." 

You can find out more about Penguin’s partnership with Neighbourly on their ‘It begins with a book’ page. To view and purchase any of the 30 titles on offer as part of the campaign, head over to Bookshop.org.

New Neighbourly pages help shine a light on local community causes

12 November 2020
new neighbourly pages

We’re excited to announce a fresh new look for the pages of the thousands of good causes on the Neighbourly platform this month.

Neighbourly pages allow good causes to showcase their impact and the work they are doing in their local communities, along with the programmes they’re involved in. This includes food and product surplus schemes and as well as volunteering, fundraising and grant programmes.

The fresh look of our pages has come at a crucial time for good causes looking to showcase just how much of a positive impact they make in their local communities, making them more discoverable by the people and businesses wanting to help.

For small charities and community groups looking to join or improve their Neighbourly page, we’ve gathered some easy-to-implement tips for making the most of the new changes.

Tell us what you’re about

Make sure your organisation's name, description, contact info and website or social links are present and up to date. Having this information in place means we can verify applications quickly and match you with the right support. We run a variety of different programmes throughout the year, from funding and grants to special holiday donations, volunteer events and more.

Some of the programmes and funds that are run in partnership with businesses and brands are designed for causes specialising in a particular area (such as food insecurity or homelessness), so having all of this essential information readily available will help ensure you're found when help is available.

When describing your cause, keep the first paragraph as succinct as possible. Tell us your purpose and who you support. You can then describe your other activities in more detail afterwards. Here’s a great example from Betel UK below.

betl project page tips

Add visuals

Add a logo or image. This will now be displayed right at the top of your page so it presents a brilliant opportunity to visually showcase what you do. A good quality picture that shows your organisation in action will work really well. If you can, photos with people (such as volunteers), will be more likely to stand out and tell a story.

upload an image tip

You can also add albums of photos - and even videos - to your page. This can really help to highlight your latest work in the community or a project your organisation is working on.

To add or update any of the information on your page, login and click on the name of your page from your dashboard.

Show your impact

social impact page tips

The new pages now let you show just how much impact you have in your local communities. You can also now display the number of people your project supports each year in this section. This can be edited in your Neighbourly dashboard in the page’s ‘Impact’ section.

As well as showing how many people small local causes are capable of supporting, it also helps us and our partner businesses know when demand is changing and ensures that support is given in across communities when it is needed most.

Raise extra cash with gift aid

giftaid page tip

As previously, for those looking to raise extra funds, you can set your page up to receive gift-aided donations from members of the public - like ViewCare Project (pictured above) which has raised over £2000 through public donations alone.

All you need to do is connect a Stripe account under 'Individual donations', then set up a pot under 'Fundraising'. Remember to let your supporters know by email or social media.

Recruit virtual volunteers

volunteer page tips

During the spring this year due to lockdown measures, we began making a switch over from offering employee volunteering in person - to a virtual volunteering programme.

Whether you’re looking for technical help, marketing and social media support, or befrienders to phone or write to those who are feeling isolated, there are an abundance of ways virtual volunteers can provide additional support to your community from a safe distance.

Any charity or good cause that’s interested in receiving help from employees of our partner businesses can show interest by applying here

For more information on setting up or editing your Neighbourly page, head to our FAQ section.

Lidl launches new programme to help tackle hunger in local communities

10 November 2020
Lidl Tackling Hunger

This week Lidl is launching a new campaign - Teaming Up To Tackle Hunger - that will enable customers to support charities and community groups in their local area with the provision of essential goods such as tinned food and long-life products.

The campaign will begin in Lidl stores this Thursday 12th November and will initially run for four weeks. During this time, customers can get involved by simply picking up a ‘Tackling Hunger’ flyer in store that represents a food item. These can then be scanned at the till to add a donation to the cost of their shop.

These valuable donations will go into food parcels [for those] in need

Every donation will be matched by Lidl, doubling the number of items donated to the good causes supporting families, older people and those struggling to get food on the table this winter and beyond.

Teaming up to Tackle Hunger

Lidl Tackling Hunger Flyer

Throughout the campaign, in-store flyers branded with the ‘Tackling Hunger’ campaign logo will represent everyday essentials starting from 35p, including a bag of rice for 85p and a 4-pack of tuna for £2.45 - all of which will be donated as products to the good causes - directly helping local people affected by food insecurity. 

Customers can also donate directly to the Neighbourly Foundation, by text message or through the Neighbourly website, with all donations going to participating food charities tackling hunger on a local level.

Reby Gilby who helps to run Nottingham Women's Centre, a charity that's been receiving surplus donations from Lidl to support their members says: "We are really grateful to have the opportunity to benefit from the Lidl Tackling Hunger campaign. We will be able to include these valuable donations in our food parcels to women and their families in need."

Direct support to local causes

Lidl Tackling Hunger Food Parcel

In many supermarkets, customers will be used to seeing a food bank collection point where items can be placed for donation. Whilst these are still invaluable for small charities, they can be easily missed or difficult for customers to know which items are best to donate.

With flyers placed directly in the shopping isles, customers will now have an opportunity to donate easily as part of their usual shop, in the knowledge that what they’ve selected will be directly supporting a food charity local to them.

Communities Against Hunger

The time for working together to tackle hunger in our local communities couldn’t come at a better time, particularly for families with young children.

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates that 1 in 3 children are living in poverty with 2.5million living in food insecure households. And with Covid-19 on the rise, more and more families are facing hardships and job losses, plunging them further into difficulties.

By enabling local people to support local causes during normal everyday activities such as food shopping, the Lidl Tackling Hunger programme hopes to build on the idea that we can work together in our communities to really support those that need it.

The initiative comes as part of Lidl’s ongoing partnership with Neighbourly, which has seen them donate over 6 million meals to an existing network of 2,220 local charities.  

Neighbourly Foundation launches to provide sustainable emergency support to local community causes

23 October 2020
neighbourly foundation

As the most vulnerable in our communities face ongoing hardship as the pandemic progresses, we’ve been preparing for ways we can offer continued support by launching the Neighbourly Foundation - a dedicated charitable arm of Neighbourly with a vision to provide a permanent means to respond to emergency need in our local communities. 

Partnering with us on the launch of the Foundation are Lidl, Aldi, Southern Co-op and M&S through its Sparks programme, all of whom made generous donations to the Neighbourly Community Fund at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This saw us distribute £1.2M in emergency funding to over 3,100 local causes who have been keeping people fed, connected and cared for during the toughest of times.

We’re proud to partner with businesses like these, which are recognising the need to support local communities and fight for the causes that keep our most vulnerable healthy, happy and safe.

For many good causes, the future continues to look increasingly uncertain. With government grants accessed by just 36% of charities and demand for support continuing to skyrocket, we recognise that there’s a need for instant financial grants to support the grassroots organisations that increasing numbers people rely on.

With real-time data coming through from our 15,000 strong community of causes, along with a newly designed grant-making feature built directly into the platform, launching the Neighbourly Foundation puts us in a unique position to be able to respond quickly to emergency need at a hyper-local level.

Community Fund Impact

The Community Fund has proved that quickly deployed micro-grants can make all the difference when it comes to keeping communities afloat - with the response from recipients showing just how essential a longer term solution to future emergencies is. 

“Micro-grants like this really make a big difference”

Recipients of the Community Fund grants estimated that the money helped them support around 340 people on average - over 1 million people in total - all the while facing an unprecedented rise in demand and uncertain future. 


Where some other forms of support were slower to reach small charities and community causes, particularly during the first few months of the pandemic, the Neighbourly Community Fund acted as a stop-gap, enabling causes to provide for the most vulnerable and marginalised residents, ensuring that no one was left behind.

One of the recipients of the Neighbourly Community Fund was Jo Critch of women’s charity Feathers Futures in Great Yarmouth, who said: “Neighbourly’s was the quickest grant to come through and was vital in enabling us to respond quickly to our increased demand. It may not seem like much money, but micro-grants like this really make a big difference.” 

For the majority (61%) of causes in receipt of the community fund grant, purchasing food to make up emergency food parcels was a top priority. In addition, two in every five causes used some of the funds to purchase basic essentials (such as toiletries for care packages), with one fifth using some of the money to pay for PPE.


As well as reducing the level of financial vulnerability charities experienced when faced with emergencies like the Covid-19 pandemic, it has highlighted their importance in being able to adapt to the needs of local people.


The fund touched all ages, genders and ethnicities across the country, with charities able to deliver a range of different support mechanisms, tailored to their unique communities.

With many struggling with stress and loneliness during the nationwide lockdown, the funding allowed 69% of causes to provide comfort to isolated people and 68% to support people with their mental health.


The fund also allowed a large percentage of causes to help people directly in their homes, reach new people in need, help people feel more connected to others, look after people’s physical health and to deliver a speedy emergency response - such as hot meal delivery for the elderly and homeless, food parcels for families in need and provision of activities and tech to allow people to communicate with others.

Future impact 

Here at Neighbourly, we see the incredible impact causes can have on local communities on a day-to-day basis, and are continually amazed at just how much they can do on shoestring budgets, leaving no-one behind. So it’s so important that we remain committed to supporting them through the toughest of times. 

Commenting on the new partnership. Carmel McQuaid, Head of Sustainable Business at M&S, told us: “At M&S, we’re proud of the role we play in the communities we serve, from our store colleagues delivering for customers to the charitable causes we support.

"Our partnership with Neighbourly enables us to give back to our local communities with ongoing surplus food donations and our recent contribution to help the organisations that need it most. But we know our customers want to do their bit for local causes too, so we’re make it easier through our Sparks charity programme. With over 6,300 customers selecting the Neighbourly Foundation as their chosen charity, we can continue making a difference every time they shop with us.”

Holly Bramble, Southern Co-op's Community and Campaign Coordinator, added: "Our commitment to support our local communities is incredibly important to us and it's more essential than ever that our funding goes to those who need it the most. Neighbourly enables us to do this. There are pockets of poverty in a number of areas where we have colleagues working in retail stores, funeral care and coffee branches.

"By working together with local causes, Neighbourly and its Foundation, we can help reduce the strain faced by so many families." 

The Foundation has been established to ensure that good causes aren’t hamstrung by a lack of resources when their help is needed more than ever. This is why we and our partners are urging other organisations to support the Foundation in providing the essential funds charities need on the ground, to keep our communities afloat.

Neighbourly CEO listed as top 100 Meaningful Business Leader for 2020

20 October 2020
meaningful business 100

Here at Neighbourly, our focus is on helping businesses to make real and meaningful contributions to their local communities - with the ultimate goal of creating a greener, fairer and more sustainable future.

So we’re honored to announce that Neighbourly CEO Steve Butterworth has been included in this year’s Meaningful Business 100 list for 2020 - a global platform for leaders combining profit and purpose.

“Meaningful leadership is about bringing people together who are passionate about making a difference.”

The Meaningful Business list is devoted to creating a unified platform for leaders around the globe to collaborate and share knowledge in order to amplify their social impact in support of the UN 2030 agenda. This includes the 17 sustainable development goals that gear us toward a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.

MB100 was curated by an expert panel of 16 judges, following a global nomination process. The platform received over 500 nominations from 70 countries, with each one scored across 5 key areas: Impact, Leadership, Innovation, Durability and Scope. 

The 100 business leaders include corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs, micro-entrepreneurs, sustainability leaders, functional heads and impact investors from 34 countries. Industries that dominate the list include agriculture, education, healthcare and technology.

Steve’s inclusion in the list further demonstrates Neighbourly’s collective commitment to helping businesses become a force for good, strengthening community ties and allowing no one to get left behind.

Commenting on the accolade, Steve adds: “For me, meaningful leadership is not about one single person fighting for what they believe in, it’s about bringing together multiple voices and people with experience at all levels who are passionate about making a difference.

“I’m incredibly proud of the Neighbourly team and all the work they do to grow the platform. With each working day we are adding to our 15,000 strong community of local good causes supported by an increasing number of businesses that see the amazing worth that comes with supporting their communities and valuing purpose over profit.”

Neighbourly receives accreditation to the Good Business Charter

12 October 2020
good business charter

Neighbourly is delighted to announce it has joined a community of forward-thinking companies in signing up to the Good Business Charter (GBC), an accreditation that seeks to raise the bar on business practices for employees, tax, the environment, customers and suppliers.

As a company that puts ethical business practices at the heart of everything we do, we're proud to be accredited by the GBC. With a growing team, it's essential for us that all staff are well looked after both mentally and physically so that we are in the best place to ensure that our growth as a business is centred around long-term positive outcomes for society and the environment. 

This accreditation not only allows us to celebrate being a 'Good Business' but also being part of a community of employers that offer some of the highest standards of employment rights for all businesses to aspire to.

Purpose over profit

It has never been more important for businesses to gain trust and demonstrate responsibility. And at a time when people are caring more about who they work for and who they buy from, the Good Business Charter offers a straightforward accreditation which recognises organisations which prioritise and care for their employees, the environment, customers and suppliers, whilst also paying their taxes according to the spirit of the law. 

"Joining the Good Business Charter underscores our commitment to using business as a force for good"

Those accredited to the charter must commit to paying their staff the real Living Wage, ensure their business takes responsibility for reducing its impact on the environment, to increase diversity and equality, and source its products ethically, to name just a few.

Neighbourly COO Zoe Colosimo says: "As one of the founding B Corps in the UK and a signatory to the UN Global Compact, joining the Good Business Charter underscores our commitment to using business as a force for good , and that starts from the inside out.

“We believe businesses have a responsibility to look after their employees and consider the impact of business decisions on society and the environment. We’re proud to stand alongside other Good Business Charter members in encouraging more organisations to adopt better practices as set out by the charter, leading the way in making a commitment to a better future for all.”

Jenny Herrera, CEO of the Good Business Foundation adds: “Neighbourly does a fantastic job of enabling businesses to make a positive impact in their communities and we are thrilled that they have become a member of the Good Business Charter.”

“The Charter brings together 10 standards, most of which already exist, but in separate places. We have combined them to provide a coherent consolidated standard for organisations of all sizes in all sectors to aspire to. GBC accreditation proves that Neighbourly isn't just a great platform but is an organisation that cares for its employees, suppliers, customers and the environment."

Samsung employees to send 1000 Letters of Love

9 October 2020
samsung 1000 letters of love cover image

For millions of us, the recent UK-wide and local lockdowns have given us a sense of what it feels like to become more isolated. But as many start to return to interacting more, there are others who still face ongoing isolation and loneliness.

In response, Samsung, whose staff have previously been involved in a variety of face-to-face volunteering programmes, wanted to find a way to connect with their local communities safely.

With that, 1000 Letters of Love was born - a campaign to get Samsung employees writing to people who are linked with good causes on Neighbourly - such as residents in care homes, homeless shelters and social groups in their local communities.

The response has been heartwarming, with over 60 members of staff signing up to take the time to write to those in their local community who might be experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Samsung’s employee volunteers

samsung venecia

Already, kind employees have been putting pen to paper, such as Venecia Wong who was partnered with Tina, a resident at the Langley Haven Dementia Care Home just ten minutes drive from her home. 

Venecia told us: “I chose this cause because it’s both local and close to my heart. My grandmother also suffers from dementia so I can understand the heartbreak it brings. I just wanted to brighten up someone’s day.

“I’ve felt really happy throughout the whole process of being matched with Tina and feel really excited when I think about her receiving my letter.”

samsung charlie

Charlie Grant, another Samsung employee volunteer, has found the experience of writing to others so valuable that she has written three letters so far. She said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be taking part in the 1000 Letters of Love campaign. 

“I’ve already written two letters to two ladies who’d normally visit the United Anglo Carribean Society to socialise with their friends. However, during the pandemic they’ve been unable to do so and we know more and more that this pandemic has caused much loneliness and anxiety for people who are not able to reach out and see their friends as they normally do.

“So it was an absolute pleasure to be able to put pen to paper and reach out to someone to say hi, ask them how they were feeling and let them know that there are people out there that care.

“I was so overwhelmed by the feelings that writing these letters gave me that I also signed up to become a penpal to a lady at the Langley Haven Dementia Care Home. With that, I’m really looking forward to hearing back from my new friend.

“To my colleagues at Samsung, if you’ve not had the chance to do so, please reach out. It takes five minutes to put pen to paper and posting that letter is just the best thing to do at this time. Our world needs us and we all need each other.”

Penpal Partners

Surprise and delight are the two words most commonly heard by the recipients of the first wave of letters coming from Samsung volunteers.

samsung evelyn

Evelyn Murphy, a care home resident, used to write letters all the time and had a penpal in America, but had lost touch with others in recent years. She said: “I was surprised to receive a letter because these days nobody really writes letters. I found it particularly interesting to read because I know letter writing can be quite hard sometimes.

“It’s really nice to have someone writing to me as it’s difficult to be in a care home at the moment.

“I enjoy writing and always find something to write about, so now I have a penpal, I have a new interest again. I’m looking forward to receiving more letters and hope that we have many years of being pen pals to come.”

samsung martina

Fellow care home resident Martina, told us she’s always enjoyed writing and in the past had started writing her own children’s book. 

She added: “I had a very interesting letter from a lady who told me all about her life and the city she lives in which I enjoyed very much. The letter writing helps me a lot during the lockdown and I’m looking forward to getting a response. It’s just like meeting a new friend.”

Local community connection

For the Samsung employees, pen pal matches have been created through charities that are local to them, which offer support to older, vulnerable and isolated individuals. 1000 Letters of Love not only gives employees the chance to reach out to these individuals, but to know that their impact is felt in their local community.

Charities that have already taken part in the programme include the likes of United Anglo Carribean Society, MHA Communities and the Langley Haven Dementia Care Home.

samsung tania

Tania Jones, Manager at MHA Communities, explained: “Covid-19 totally dissipated our face-to-face services but we have been supporting our members with check-in telephone calls, weekly shopping and medication collection, online and telephone activities and our ‘busy bags’ which are full of activities to keep our members physically and mentally active.

“Samsung letters have really brightened the lives of our members by letting them know that other people are thinking about them.”

Letters of love

Throughout the next few months and beyond, Samsung employees will continue to send their first letters (for some, it will be their second or third) to their new pen pals, with the goal of reaching 1,000 letters sent.

It’s hoped that the 1,000 Letters of Love will help both employees and those in their local communities to feel more connected and less isolated as the months of uncertainty continue - spreading a little kindness in testing times.

To find out more about 1000 Letters of Love, check out Samsung’s campaign page on Neighbourly

If your organisation is interested in getting staff involved in remote volunteering programmes, such as letter writing, get in touch via our Remote Volunteering page.

Neighbourly joins 50 major signatories in support of Universal Credit increase

30 September 2020
keep the lifeline universal credit increase

In April this year, the government announced that there would be a temporary increase of £20 a week for those in receipt of Universal Credit - an absolute lifeline for those on already low incomes for whom the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic could have otherwise left them unable to feed their families. 

But with no real commitment from the Government to keep this £20 uplift beyond April 2021, many are concerned that the drop in income could force hundreds of thousands of people into poverty overnight. 

“16 million people will be in households facing an overnight income loss equivalent to £1,040 a year”

That is why we, along with 50 other organisations including Citizens Advice, Lloyds Bank Foundation and The Trussell Trust, have signed a joint letter to call on the Chancellor to make the £20 a week increase to Universal Credit permanent and extend the same support to those on legacy benefits.

Together, the coalition wrote:

We welcomed the swift action you took at the start of the pandemic to implement this much needed investment. Falling incomes and rising costs throughout the pandemic have put families under immense financial pressure, but the £20 uplift has been a lifeline that has enabled many of them to keep their heads above water and has stopped us seeing a marked surge in poverty levels.

However, if the uplift ends in April 2021, this good work risks being undermined. Modelling by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicates that around 16 million people will be in households facing an overnight income loss equivalent to £1,040 a year, with those on the lowest incomes and families with children being hardest hit. 

At a stroke, 700,000 more people will be pulled into poverty, including 300,000 children, and 500,000 more of those already in poverty will be plunged into deep poverty (more than 50% below the poverty line). We are therefore urging you to make the uplift permanent and stop families being cut adrift whilst they need help to stay afloat.

Keep the Lifeline

The letter was sent following the Chancellor’s statement last week in which he outlined his Winter Economy Plan and acknowledged that many families will see job losses over the coming months. Even those whose jobs are protected through the Job Support Scheme will see income cuts. Despite this, there was no commitment to keeping this temporary Universal Credit uplift beyond April.

Here at Neighbourly, we’ve heard from hundreds of small charities and community groups who this year have seen steep increases in demand for support, including emergency food parcels for children and families. 

As more people face risks to their livelihoods, our social security system will have a key role in protecting families from poverty and in enabling people to grasp new opportunities as they become available.

Support for legacy claimants

The letter also emphasises the importance of extending this lifeline to claimants of legacy benefits who are currently excluded from the additional £20 a week of support.

Further, it is simply not right that those on legacy benefits, who are mostly sick or disabled people and carers, and so have been most at risk during this pandemic, have not been thrown an equivalent lifeline. We urge you to follow the advice of the Social Security Advisory Committee and support 1.5 million more people by applying an equivalent uplift to those on legacy benefits who have so far been excluded from increases.

“It’s only right to prioritise those hardest hit"

Commenting on the publication of the letter, Helen Barnard, Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who coordinated the letter, said: “Today’s letter shows the overwhelming support that exists for this lifeline which is playing a critical role in helping many families keep their heads above water in extremely turbulent times. Building on existing cross-party support in Parliament, we are coming together to urge ministers not to cut social security at precisely the moment our country needs it most.

“It’s only right to prioritise those hardest hit, pulling families worst affected by the pandemic back from the brink. We are united in calling on the Chancellor to keep doing the right thing by making the uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extending it to those claiming legacy benefits.”

See the full letter and list of signatories on the Joseph Rowntree Website and support the campaign via the Twitter hashtag #KeepTheLifeline.