The Clothes Club hits Dalston rooftop – to raise money for Bootstrap Campus

We’ve been pretty busy the last few months, planning the 2nd Clothes Club event on Wednesday 4th September. It’s a chance to enjoy the last of the summer, hopefully, on the Dalston rooftop. We’ve been in touch with their team since last summer when we decided to first launch TCC, so it’s a pretty weird feeling that the event is suddenly upon us.

We’re supporting Bootstrap Campus who run programmes and workshops for disadvantaged kids in Hackney. Our first Clothes Club supported Hackney Pirates who also help kids in Hackney, with pioneering educational programmes (after school hours). The youth sector is definitely something we’re passionate about, so it’s great to be partnering with yet another great social enterprise in this space.

Bootstrap Campus are part a social enterprise, Bootstrap Company, who have been around since 1977. They help incubate 100s of early stage companies and believe ‘in the power of creativity and micro-enterprises’. By leveraging the creative enterprises that are part of the Bootstrap building community, they develop programs that focus on creative learning and career building, all done within the perfect space – the iconic Print House building, the WW2 bunker and sought after Dalston rooftop.

Their CEO Sara Turnbull is a ‘Chartered Environmentalist with experience in holistic sustainability, energy efficient retrofit and behaviour change’, she’s no doubt had a major impact on the company (and I’d love to interview her).

If you’re free on Wednesday evening pop by with 3 items of quality clothing to swap. You’ll get tokens in return which you can exchange for clothes and do your bit for the environment. There will be cocktails, live sketching of the event in action, and a famous DJ. But best of all for just £10 you’re not only getting new items, it also helps kids in Hackney (win:win).

Thanks for your support TheclothesClub_Poster_Sept4_final

Foodbanks – an unlikely football club’s community programme doing good in Peckham

FoodBank

Millwall FC are ‘notorious for being the toughest and most violent set of football fans in England’. Seems scary. I don’t like football so this isn’t my opinion, just research from ‘The foodbankers‘. The concept for their blog is a a very topical idea (content about foodbanks in London), run by postgraduate journalism students at City University; Rachel Bayne, Tom Knowles, Charlotte Rettie and Henry Vane.

In 2009 there were 6 foodbanks feeding 400 people in the capital. Figures from the leading food bank charity, the Trussell Trust, reveal there are 325 foodbanks nationwide now feeding 340,000 (40 in the capital feeding 34,000). Foodbanks were set up to help those who were poorest in the community but they’re not to serve as an extra arm of the government, which it seems they now are.

Peckham foodbank’s co-ordinator Felicia Boshorin feels a change to benefits is the biggest reason for people suddenly needing to rely on food banks, the Foodbankers report. Often people have switched from Employment and Support Allowance to Jobseeker’s allowance, and will have up to four weeks when one set of benefits has stopped and money from the new allowance has yet to come through. They are unlikely to have any savings to get them through that period.

Rising costs of food and fuel combined with static income, high unemployment as well as benefit changes are causing more and more people to come to foodbanks for help.

Millwall are an unlikely supporter of foodbanks with their reputation, however they’re THE only football club foodbank. Their supporters bring food items to matches and it’s then delivered to Peckham foodbank providing extra support amongst a cash strapped local authority. Well done Millwall!

Maybe more public mass scale events should start doing this, the O2 springs to mind.

Social enterprise in books: Better World Books

Better World BooksSince I’ve been researching the social enterprise sector, I’m constantly surprised and delighted when I stumble across a new example, in a sector which is sustainable and being scaled.

Better World Books is the online bookstore with a soul, founded by three college students in 2002. They sell new and used books online and help fund literacy programs worldwide with the proceeds – a bit like TOMS Shoes with their programme (it must be an American thing).

They’ve achieved impressive statistics: $8 million raised for literacy and libraries, 6.5 million books donated and over 92 million books reused or recycled but they’re got even more ambitious plans. I know 92 million books recycled!

By year-end they plan to have over 1,000 boxes in 50 cities. The drop boxes will improve their logistics infrastructure and also act as advertising, they have all bases covered. They’re also focusing more on online sales, initially they sold through Amazon but are increasingly selling more inventory through their own site (makes sense for a better margin).

It’s no wonder they’re a top 5000 fastest growing company for the 4th year running.

The Kindness Cab

Last year Leon Logothetis gave free rides to strangers in his kindness cab, raising over £10,000 to fund books for Classwish.org. This year he did the Mongol Rally with his team mates, nicknamed the Flying Dutchman, and 10,000 books were donated to firstbook.org.

He swapped his life as a city broker to pursue his dreams to travel the world and spread kindness: “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” –Frank A. Clark

Can eating doughnuts actually do good?

Doughnut Week, Children's TrustTo my delight I’ve discovered doughnuts are good for you. It’s National doughnut week from Sat 12th – Sat 19th May. Chris Osburn has done a guest blog post for Great British Chefs on it which can be viewed here.

‘Every doughnut sold by participating bakers across Britain raises money for The Children’s Trust, a national charity providing care, education and therapy to children with multiple disabilities and complex health needs. Over the past couple of decades, National Doughnut Week has raised more than £735,000 for The Children’s Trust. This year, National Doughnut Week’s goal is £30,000.’

Get involved.

Now where to get my doughnuts tomorrow?