On several occasions in the past this blog has featured the generosity of the Brit Awards ‘Global Success Award’ winners One Direction (in particular, Harry Styles). The boy band’s latest exploit concerns Red Nose Day – a charity initiative its members have been supporting since their recent visit to Ghana. The poverty there made a big impression on the lads, and as can be seen above, Harry has now been inspired to bake cupcakes in honour of the fundraising event, which will take place on Friday the 15th of March 2013, with the theme of ‘do something funny for money’.
Harry Styles recently spent a day delivering Domino’s pizzas. But the pop heartthrob who celebrates his 19th birthday today wasn’t trying to supplement his income as a singer with boy band One Direction. In fact, he spent several thousand dollars on the pizzas, a few months ago, which he then delivered personally to LA’s homeless. Harry – who has recently hit the headlines for shedding tears over the world’s poor – is rapidly becoming known as the band’s chief philanthropist, and he has even been compared to Bob Geldof. Add to this his recent interest in philosophy and one suspects that this teen could become quite a force to be reckoned with.
Crest Co-operative, based in Llandudno Junction, North Wales is a sustainable recycling business that operates various initiatives:
- diverting functional, household and electrical goods and food away from landfill;
- selling restored household items at affordable costs;
- giving food to homeless and vulnerable people.
In the process it also creates employment for the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, and ex-offenders. Since 2012 the social enterprise has worked to ensure in-date food does not go to waste. National and local food manufacturers donate quality surplus food, which is then redistributed by Crest Co-operative to 28 community groups across North Wales. These groups then prepare meals for homeless and vulnerable people. In the last nine months Crest Co-operative has:
- diverted 56 tonnes of in-date, quality food away from landfill, contributing to meals for vulnerable people at 28 community groups in North Wales;
- diverted 69 tonnes of household items destined for landfill and restored and sold them to the public at a low cost through its community stores;
- created 509 work placements and employment opportunities, such as workshop assistants, van driver’s assistants, retail assistants and work placements assisting adults with learning disabilities;
- created almost 5,000 hours of volunteering opportunities;
- provided 2,391 hours of community service – those who work in this service are less likely to become repeat offenders.
Photo: Charlie, at the end of his 600-mile fundraising cycle ride.
A young fundraiser for Mary’s Meals has landed a surprise trip to Malawi.
Last June we considered 9-year-old Martha Payne, at the centre of the school dinners row, and her fundraising work for the charity Mary’s Meals. Now, news has emerged of a 12-year-old from Crawley, Sussex (UK) – Charlie Doherty – who has been supporting the charity since he was 6 years old, and has raised a total of more than £20,000, by foregoing birthday presents, cycling 600 miles over three weeks, and carrying out various other fundraising activities… even donating his own personal backpack.
Charlie sponsors Ipyana Primary School, in Malawi, and his efforts mean that all 1,429 children there get a daily meal from Mary’s Meals throughout the school year. The meals, which are served by volunteers, encourage children to attend school, thus helping them find a way out of poverty. Mary’s Meals began feeding 200 children in Malawi after its founder and chief executive Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow visited the country in 2002. It now feeds more than 700,000 every school day, in a total of 16 countries, at a cost of around £10.70 per child, per year.
In a new documentary film, Child 31, Charlie explains how one meal a day can make all the difference to a school-age child, and tells of his work to support this worthwhile charity. Through the efforts of people such as Charlie, “thousands of children, who would otherwise be hungry and working for their next meal, are instead sitting in a classroom with a full stomach, learning how to read and write.”
Now, in recognition of his amazing fundraising efforts the 12-year-old has received a surprise Christmas present during a charity hike up Mount Snowdon, Wales. His mum informed him at the end of the hike that through the generosity of family and friends he was being flown out to Malawi later this month, to spend his birthday at the school he has been supporting through the ‘Sponsor a School’ campaign run by Mary’s Meals. Charlie, who has dreamed of making such a trip for several years, says he is very excited about meeting the children and seeing the charity in action.
This time last year I was planning my first-ever blog, here on Generosity News. Well, it’s hard to believe that a whole year has now passed!
And what a year it has been: we’ve met some amazing people and organisations! Looking back over the 424 posts that I have published here since last January 1st I am inspired and encouraged by the sheer amount of goodwill that they evidence. I started out by expressing the hope that 2012 would be a generous year, and that certainly seems to have been the case.
Of course, Generosity News began as a daily review of “Who’s doing what, in the world of philanthropy, charity and altruism” – researching “anything and everything related to generosity and ‘giving’” with the intention of inspiring and cheering readers “with up-to-date reports and good news from around the globe”.
Chreda and the Prize
The more observant among you will have noticed, however, that the emphasis has gradually shifted as the months have gone by. It is no secret that I am a Trustee of the Chreda Foundation, and that my underlying agenda for creating the blog was to research the field, in order to inform our future direction. In particular, we had floated the idea of an award scheme, and we wanted to get a feel for what good works were going on, ‘out there’, to help our planning. We are now much better informed, as a result of the 12 months of blogging, and are starting to firm up our plans for the Chreda Prize, which we hope to launch at the end of this coming year.
With that in mind, I gradually changed the focus of my research (and, therefore, of the blog posts) towards the UK, generally (a large proportion of the reports crossing my desk came – and continue to come – from the United States, which is perhaps unsurprising, considering its population size and prominence on the Internet!), and in particular, towards the activities of young people. The Chreda Foundation believes, and has stated many times, that “Children Are Our Future”, and its work is concerned with the younger generation here within the UK, so we naturally wish to concentrate increasingly on that segment through the medium of Generosity News, which is our main mouthpiece and access to the social networks.
You, my readers
I realise that this may lose me some readers, over time, but that is something I believe I must accept, for the benefit of our long-term strategy. I really do appreciate, though, the faithful support of so many of you, over the last 12 months – visits to the site continue to be well into three figures each day, and on average people seem to be viewing around 6 pages per visit, which is very gratifying, and suggests that we are continuing to meet a need. Many of you, too, have signed up to the RSS feed, so the fact that I had to drop my ‘membership’ plans early-on now causes me little concern.
What I’m leading up to, then, is that during 2013 I will be homing-in even more on young people in the UK, and especially focusing on award schemes. I hope to revamp the layout of the site a little over the coming months, to take account of this, but I will try to do so with the minimum of disruption: I will aim to maintain an uninterrupted service, and I hope to see many of you continuing to visit on a regular basis. As time goes by I intend that the website will become a resource for people wanting information on youth award schemes in the UK, and I look forward to hearing from anyone who is able to provide updated information. Naturally, I will also continue to provide updates on our own Chreda Prize, as it develops.
One other feature that I am considering introducing – which actually has little connection with the primary purpose of the site, but appears to be something that people are seeking – is a database of food banks. I am aware that this is the search term that generates by far the largest number of visits from Google, so I am currently investigating whether I might be able to accommodate this more specifically.
I don’t know about you… but I am approaching the New Year with a sense of excitement and anticipation (especially now that the dreaded end of the Mayan calendar has passed!), and I look forward to continuing to serve you through the medium of Generosity News. So, finally, I’d like to wish you all once again a happy and generous New Year!