Last week , I joined the Greg Secker Foundation and the Salvation Army in Wandsworth as we took part in delivering gifts to local residents and children in need. With millions of UK children facing a Christmas in poverty this year, social development charity, the Greg Secker Foundation, has joined other businesses in the UK to help the Salvation Army support the Basket Brigade initiative.
Since 2012, the Greg Secker Foundation has partnered with Learn to Trade in an alternative Christmas party they call the “Basket Brigade”. Greg Secker and his employees use the opportunity to come together, and work with the Salvation Army to provide food hampers and Christmas presents to families who struggle to put food on the table at Christmas.
With changes to Universal Credit and Child Benefit coming into effect this year, 1 in 3 children under 16 are now believed to be living in poverty in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.A community particularly feeling the impact of these welfare reforms is the London Borough of Wandsworth and this happens to be one of my favourite banners since that’s I was born in St. Georges Hospital which is located in the Borough. According to research, Wandsworth’s foodbank has distributed 42 tonnes of emergency food and goods from its five foodbank centres between 2016-17 – an increase of 31% on the previous year. And, according to Lieutenant Katy Shubotham from the Salvation Army the number of families needing support over Christmas this year has almost doubled in the London Borough.
Last year The Greg Secker Foundation worked with the Salvation Army to create 76 baskets for families. Yesterday the team packed 100 baskets to provide Christmas day essentials for 323 people and presents for 179 children in Wandsworth. You’ll find images from the packing floor yesterday available here.
“While most of us spend the next 10 days frantically preparing for a Christmas day feast, there are millions of families in the UK going hungry; worried about how they’ll get together enough money to put food on the table,” says Lieutenant Katy Shubotham from The Salvation Army. “Every year there is a greater need for the Basket Brigade programme, and every year I am absolutely blown away by the generosity we receive from the community and local businesses.”
Dean Russell, Independent Advisor at The Greg Secker Foundation adds: “We’ve been running the Basket Brigade initiative since 2012, and working with the Salvation Army in Wandsworth for two years now. Seeing the difference everyday items that most of us take for granted can have for these families makes it all worthwhile, it really helps spreads some joy over the Christmas period. If more businesses dedicated employee time, business profits and resources to giving back to their local community, families up and down the country would benefit.”
Katy continues: “Those living in poverty should not have to just ‘get by’ at Christmas, they deserve to experience joy. With the continued support of the Greg Secker Foundation we have been able to make Christmas a little brighter for over 100 families in Wandsworth. If we had the resources of a foundation in every Borough offering the same amount of generosity, Christmas would be a happier, more celebrated occasion for millions of families in the UK.”