A shout out for our corporate supporters
It has always been part of our approach at The Food Chain to work alongside all our neighbours to raise awareness about the needs of people living with HIV in London today, as well as encourage people from all walks of life and backgrounds to support our work, whether as volunteers or supporters.
Located as we are, in central London, many of our neighbours are part of the corporate sector, from small local businesses right up to large multi-nationals. There are many ways in which the corporate sector contributes to and supports our work.
This year, more than ever we have been grateful for the support and involvement of our many corporate partners.
The People’s Supermarket on Lambs Conduit St is a community- run store providing food that is fairly priced for customers and producers alike. They are long-time supporters, regularly providing donated food goods and cash collections. Ted’s Veg in Borough Market provides fantastic fruit and veg on a weekly basis – two small local businesses making a great contribution to their local community.
At the other end of the retail scale, we are now one of the charities that Co-op members can choose to receive income from their Community Fund, and we have been adopted by Sainsbury’s Digital and Technology Division based in Holborn as their charity of the year for 2019. Every year for Christmas we run food drives at Sainsbury's and Waitrose stores locally. We are familiar faces at our local Tesco, collecting surplus goods every week too.
We benefit from the food surplus schemes contributed to by the large supermarkets, through the Fare Share and Felix Project food distribution schemes.
This year we have had two restaurants – Magpie, and Gauthier Soho fundraise for us with a ‘charity of the month’ donation added to customers’ bills – and many other restaurants and bars are extremely generous in providing meal vouchers as raffle prizes or auction items.
In recent years we been awarded grants by Credit Agricole, Ebay and Bayer through their employee volunteering programmes – all thanks to the generosity and hard work of volunteers or Food Chain supporters who work for these companies and nominated us for support. We also have regular visits from corporate teams to our kitchen to get involved in fundraising activities, including the Wellcome Foundation, Box, Bain & Co and Viacom.
We have had grants from Gilead and Viiv Healthcare to directly fund our services this year – and every year we receive unexpected donations from companies who have chosen us to support around Christmas time – Barclays /Shearman & Stirling, Campbell Tickell and Metro bank have all donated funds or gifts this year.
Some of our amazing volunteers who take on fundraising challenge events for us, such as walking 30 miles in one day, are able to secure match-funding from their employers for the sponsorship they raise for us.
Then there is the wonderfully enduring support from many of the LGBT+ bars and venues in Soho, including KU, The Duke of Wellington, Admiral Duncan and West 5, amongst the many who run events and activities to raise funds for us throughout the year.
All in all, the support of our corporate neighbours will translate in to cash and in-kind donations with a value of approximately £80,000 this year which is a very significant contribution.
Just as important to us is the connection the companies make with our work and the people we meet who hear about The Food Chain for the first time. Some of them become life-long friends. Our network of supporters and donors is ever-increasing, and it is crucial ingredient in keeping our services running.
I’d like to say a very big thank you to everyone running or working in a business in London that has supported us this year, and every year. Your contribution makes a real difference to people at times of need.