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Smarter Giving: One Year On

One year on from the start of the first national lockdown, our Smarter Giving Manager Kate reflects on the challenges faced by the local charities and community groups and how our members and wider-local businesses have demonstrated, more than any other time, overwhelming support.

Whilst being locked down challenged most of us, for the local grassroots charities that support those in need in and around our area, the challenge was huge. With face-to-face support no longer possible and demand higher than ever, charities had to transform their services overnight. Organisations supporting the elderly suddenly had to support those shielding and isolated at home who, very often, had limited access to the internet and restricted knowledge of how to use Zoom or Teams to access people. Those supporting low-income families had to find ways to support them when they potentially didn’t have access to IT equipment at home to access virtual meetings, and, in many cases, were looking after children at home without the funds to provide them with drawing paper and activities to keep them occupied. The local foodbanks were having to mobilise to continue to provide food to regular users, and with the additional work of creating a full delivery operation as no one could collect in person, as well as dealing with a huge influx of need from those shielding or self-isolating who couldn’t access supermarkets.

Our members rose to the challenge of supporting our local charities and community groups and we wanted to celebrate and give a huge thanks to them all. Support provided included;

  • North Paddington Food Bank – members volunteered vehicles, drivers, volunteers, funding food crates and bags, to help them transform their service and provide food to those in need
  • St Mary’s Hospital – members provided wellbeing boxes for nurses working long shifts, as well as motivational thank you gift vouchers to show our appreciation
  • Homestart Westminster & Young Westminster Foundation – members donated laptops & pcs (as well as software licenses) to help families at home access online support and services
  • Greenhouse Sports – members provided hot meals to help feed children of low income families during half terms
  • Age UK and Doorstep Library – Volunteers provided their time to support the local elderly and isolated through weekly support telephone calls, as well as volunteers reading with young children and families in need virtually
  • Our annual Christmas toy drive went ahead with massive support from members, in addition to donations of Christmas stockings for out-patients at St John’s Hospice and & supporting a local project to provide 500 Christmas hampers of food and goodies being collected and distributed to disadvantaged local families

A full list of Baker Street Quarter members who have contributed can be found below.

We might be coming out of lockdown in the next few weeks, but the need for support will unfortunately remain high for the foreseeable future. Charities face an even tougher year after committing so much financial resource to 2020, so financial support is more important than ever. They also continue to be challenged with creating new ways of working to manage social distancing requirements and changes related to the lockdown restrictions lifting. Any fundraising or donations you or your business might be able to come together to raise will be hugely appreciated.

Other opportunities to get involved include a new range of virtual volunteering opportunities, as well as skills-sharing support needed by charities (in marketing, finance, strategy, etc.) to help our charities bed down new ways of working, as well as expand and grow.

If you would like to know more about how you can get involved, please contact Kate on [email protected].

With thanks to Baker Street Quarter members:

55 Baker Street, Ardagh Group, Attestor Capital, BC Partners, BDO, Bridgepoint, British Land, Chancery Gate, Chiltern Firehouse, Coop, Derwent, Fortius Clinic, Barracuda Casino, Holmes Hotel, Home House, Howard de Walden, HSBC, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, Invesco, Knight Frank, London & Regional LCP, Madame Tussauds, Motor Village, Nobu Hotel, Paper Round, Pimco, Poten & Partners, Revcap, Signature Aviation, Streathers, The Portman Estate, West-1 Physio and Za’ta.

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