THE COLOUR COLLECTION CATCH-UP
7 MINUTE READ
We can’t believe we’re already in June - oh how time flies! But, let’s rewind the clock for a moment and revisit April. Feels like ages away doesn’t it?
Apart from the spike in chocolate over Easter and the first (although VERY subtle) hints of sunshine, April was the month we launched a very special collection with an even greater social impact.
In case you’ve forgotten, let us remind you of our perfect pastel Colour Collection. The Colour Collection (which you can still get here!) was all about reminding us about the inner child within us, and encouraging us to let that fun-loving, imagination-filled kid run wild! And while we encouraged our customers to reconnect with that childhood innocence and fun once more, our incredible Social Impact team focussed their attention on some other children who unfortunately have very little time to cultivate that childlike innocence in the first place…
Childhood poverty and the issue of food insecurity plagues the UK and the wider world too, and it’s an issue that we are determined to change. With the aesthetic of the Colour Collection so heavily influenced by the look of children’s building blocks and the creativity attached to them, we wanted our social impact for this campaign to reflect that as well. We believe that our childhood years have a fundamental influence on what our adult years will look like. In understanding that so many young individuals will have a compromised adult life because of the difficulties within their childhoods, we began to think about the small but significant things we could do to provide a sense of relief, security, and most importantly, give these children back the childhoods they deserve.
To do this, we turned to the experts of food insecurity to learn more about how to prevent and address it: Feeding Britain.
This incredible charity quickly connected us to one of their regional charities, Feeding Birkenhead, who became our official partner charity for this collection. Working together with Feeding Britain and several very generous brands who donated high-quality, nutrition-filled products to help combat food insecurity, the OutsideIn Social Impact team poured hours into orchestrating and creating 72 individually packed, age-specific lunch bags that would be donated to the vulnerable children supported by Feeding Birkenhead. While this is a little bit different to our regular Wear One, Share One giving initiative, we were so excited to be able to tailor the giving side of this collection to give these kids the support they need and deserve.
Every single product purchased from the Colour Collection contributed towards covering the cost needed to cover these 72 hampers meaning that whether you purchased a cap, a hoodie, a sweater or all of the above, every single penny contributed towards making this possible.
So, a great big THANK YOU to every customer who supported this campaign by copping something from the Colour Collection! To give you some insight into how and why your purchases have made such a phenomenal impact, we caught up with Feeding Britain and asked them to shed some light on the issue of food poverty and why initiatives like this are so important for the children in our country.
Take a read and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
A CONVERSATION WITH: FEEDING BRITAIN
Can you tell us more about the work Feeding Britain does to help vulnerable individuals across the UK?
Feeding Britain was established in 2015 by a cross-party group of MPs and Peers who were alarmed by the rising numbers of people in our country who were hungry – unable to afford or access the food they needed for a basic meal. The group tasked Feeding Britain with setting up and supporting anti-hunger projects, and then building an evidence base from these projects on the underlying drivers of need and what could be done to address them.
Every day, we look to identify, nurture, and accelerate innovative means of preventing and relieving hunger in the communities we serve. Our projects include Citizens' Supermarkets that provide affordable food and wraparound support, Healthy Holidays which provides nutritious meals and enriching activities during school holidays, and Pathways From Poverty which provides on-the-spot advice and advocacy to help people address quickly the crises that have left them hungry. Last year, we supported 47,000 households in term time and 40,000 during school holidays.
We have a small but dedicated team who drive the implementation of projects through our 30 regional partnerships and 500 frontline groups within the Feeding Britain network, and who liaise with decision-makers in government to develop workable policies that address the underlying drivers of need. Over the past three years alone, those policies have resulted in changes worth more than £2.5 billion to programmes around employment, Universal Credit, and child hunger.
What are some of the most effective ways we can work together to fight the issue of food poverty?
There are two key challenges to overcome: affordability and accessibility. We are determined to play our part - through diverse networks encompassing schools, children's centres, churches, community groups, businesses, and local authorities - in making food more affordable and accessible for people, while also proposing workable solutions to the Government on the moves they can make to help people afford and access the food they need without sacrificing other essentials.
What are some of the root causes of food poverty and what can we do to prevent them?
In respect of affordability, there are certain aspects of the jobs market and benefits system, in particular, which often leave people short of money. With housing and utility costs needing to be paid, and debts needing to be repaid, food is often the first thing to be sacrificed when money is tight. In respect of accessibility, there is a real need for innovative solutions that offer mobile or pop-up grocery services to remote areas or 'food deserts', while also considering issues around public transport. We are currently piloting a fleet of food buses and mobile pantries and sharing the lessons from this work with the Government.
Looking at young individuals in particular, why is food poverty such a detrimental issue?
So many outcomes for children's health and development are linked to the quality and quantity of food they consume. Through our Healthy Holidays work, as well as school breakfast projects, we have seen first-hand that children are more settled, prepared to learn, and able to engage with activities after a decent meal. We are also aware of the sacrifices that all too many parents have to make to ensure their children do not go without, including turning to one another and deciding whose turn it is to eat the following day. Wherever possible, we try to ensure those entire families are supported through our work so that nobody in the household has to go hungry.
Covid has created an enormous array of issues, particularly for vulnerable people in the UK. How has the pandemic impacted food poverty as well as the charities that work hard to end it?
The social and economic consequences of the pandemic have generated two trends:
- Exacerbating the poverty and isolation that had already afflicted people on low incomes
- Creating a large number of 'newly hungry' people who, often for the first time in their lives, had to seek help from the benefits system or community food providers following adverse changes in their circumstances.
While both trends have added to the level of need for our services, we have been blessed to experience an outpouring of generosity from businesses and the public which has helped us meet that need - the people in this country were and are determined not to let their neighbour go hungry.
For the UK to truly combat food insecurity, are there any policies and practices that need to be changed and/or implemented for this to be a reality?
We believe that everyone in our society – from the private, voluntary, and public sectors – has a role to play in eliminating hunger and its underlying causes from the UK. One example of this model is our longstanding Healthy Holidays programme. Among its outcomes is a strengthening of bonds both within and between families, better dietary intake, lower levels of anxiety and financial concern among families, and improved preparedness among children for their return to school. We proposed to the Government that it should both fund and scale up this community-led programme across the whole country. Having gained such a commitment, we then worked with them to design what is now known as the Holiday Activities and Food scheme, with businesses up and down the country playing their part in supporting it.
Throughout our latest collection, The Colour Collection, we worked with Feeding Birkenhead. Can you tell us about some of the work you do alongside them?
Feeding Birkenhead was the first of our 30 regional partnerships to be created. It was here that we began piloting our first Citizens' Supermarket (now helping 1,000 members from the local area) as well as Healthy Holidays (regularly supporting 2,000 children) and Pathways From Poverty (helping 1,500 people to resolve the crisis which had left them hungry). Feeding Birkenhead has also distributed hundreds of thousands of school breakfasts and helped set up one of the country's first fuel banks which supports tens of thousands of people. With a network of 14 social supermarkets also in operation, Feeding Birkenhead helped provide an early blueprint for other regional partnerships looking to prevent hunger.
Our customers made it possible for us to support Feeding Birkenhead and to create 72 hampers for the children they support as well as some extra support for the 56 families they’re a part of. Beyond just the physical help, how have OutsideIn’s customers impacted these kids and their families?
Above all else, this act of generosity reminds people that others are thinking of them, that they matter to their fellow citizens, and that they have not been forgotten.
For people who would love to help in the fight against food poverty but have no idea where to start, what are some of the ways you recommend doing so?
Our regional partnerships are open to anyone and everyone who shares our passion for eliminating hunger and its root causes from the UK. Moreover, we are always open to proposals and requests to establish new regional partnerships in towns, cities, and counties that are not already within our network. It is through these partnerships that we both generate and share innovative ideas for new projects, and build the evidence base we need to make the case for systemic change.
How can people support and learn more about Feeding Britain?
Supplies of food, financial contributions, and boots on the ground are the three key ingredients that make our projects work effectively. Any support whatsoever would make a huge difference and be gratefully received. Further information on our work is available at www.feedingbritain.org