It is at times like these when the poor, the old and the most vulnerable often find that they need more help than ever, yet the charities and voluntary groups who are called upon increasingly to deliver that support are under pressures of their own, as funding and donations dry up in the tough economic climate.
So it was good to see this week a woman from Croydon helping to launch a national campaign to encourage us all to try to “do our bit”, however modestly, but to give just a little extra.
Give More is a campaign to encourage people to give more – it might be time or energy, not just cash, in 2012 to the causes they are care about.
June Ross-Wildman, from Croydon, founded Esther Community Enterprise in 2005, a charity organisation whose work for the homeless and disadvantaged throughout the borough and the capital has been recognised by the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. “Giving Purpose to Surplus” is ECE’s mission statement, as it sets out to redistribute food, clothing and other consumables that they receive from retailers.
Access to food is a right and not a privilege, ECE says, maintaining that “everything that we take, we use. Nothing get’s wasted”. With several bases throughout Croydon and the rest of London, ECE says it helps to provide food to more than 8,000 people every month.
ECE supports organisations, groups and projects across London and the UK, working with retail organisations who share the same goals of reducing food waste that would be destined to landfill sites.
On Tuesday, Ross-Wildman spoke at the Give More launch in the BT Tower to encourage everyone to try to offer a little more support to organisations such as ECE.
“I realised I could make a difference in my community by redirecting food from retailers to those who would benefit – but I can’t do this alone,” she told the audience at the press launch.
“Esther Community Enterprise has been sustained through the goodwill and hard work of over 100 drivers and countless volunteers, who contribute their time, transportation and finance. We collect near sell-by date food on a daily basis from a range of retailers and divert it to those that need it most,” she said.
And like other organisations involved with Give More, ECE is always seeking additional volunteers, in Croydon and elsewhere.
BT, NSPCC, Marie Curie Cancer Care and high-profile public figures, including broadcaster Martyn Lewis and founder of ChildLine, Esther Rantzen, have already signed up for the Give More campaign.
For many, times are tougher than ever. Nearly 3 million are unemployed, there’s record rates of youth unemployment, 1 in 5 children are below the poverty line and 5.7 million households struggling to pay bills – while public services and voluntary organisations are struggling to cope with increased demand and face funding pressures of their own.
Tamar Ghosh, Campaign Director, Give More, said: “Our natural response is to look to the state, but it is unable to respond to all the issues. So who can? The answer is ‘all of us’.
“The UK has a long tradition of giving money, time, and energy to charity – so the aim of Give More is to harness this generosity and inspire us to become an even greater giving nation – because we can all make a huge difference by making a public commitment to give more and talk more about giving.”
- The official launch of Give More is in mid-April 2012, but in advance people are being urged to pledge their support at www.givemore.org.uk
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