Tag Archives: charity

Supply Shack

Des shows off an upright banner made by Supply Shack

Pic: Helen Hanbury. Des shows off an upright banner made by Supply Shack

By Dave C

Tucked away in a small business park at the back of Hurn Airport, Supply Shack sells business supplies, printed stationery, signs and banners, point-of-sale material and branded merchandise. What makes it different to any other printer and stationer is that part of the profits the business makes get re-distributed, at the end of the financial year, to democratically chosen good causes.

This year they are supporting Life Education Wessex, specialists in providing high quality health and drug prevention education to children in Devon, Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset and helping to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to lead healthier and happier lives. Supply Shack’s previous charity partners are Diverse Abilities Plus, The Butterfly Foundation, Hannah House and Crumbs. Continue reading

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Filed under Big Issue online journalism South West, Dave C, Features, Helen

Historic Building At Risk in Clapton

DSCF1734A cluster of 17th century buildings facing Clapton Pond have been made available for sale by the charity that owns them, prompting concerns that they could be demolished, despite having listed status.

The buildings were originally built to provide housing for elderly local women and did so up until 2012.  As well as flats and a courtyard, the building complex contains a chapel said to be the smallest in the country.

Despite the buildings having grade II listed status, developers could demolish them if given permission by Hackney Council.  It is not yet known if this would be something future owners may attempt. 

Local Councillor Ian Rathbone, who is chair of the Clapton Pond Neighbourhood Action Group, said they “don’t anticipate demolition, just because of the building’s listed status” but added “we are keen to meet with any potential buyer, and expect that this would happen through the formal planning process” as they seek reassurances over the buildings’ future.

The Council does not usually approve the demolition of listed buildings, according to its website.  Any decision would only be made after consultation with English Heritage.

The charity, Dr Spurstowe and Bishops Wood Almshouses, say that they intend to use the money raised by the sale to pay for the construction of new homes with which they could provide more social housing for the elderly.  They had initially hoped to refurbish and continue to use the almshouses but the cost was prohibitive. 

 Father Rob Wickham, member of the board of trustees of the charity and rector at St. John at Hackney Church said: “As a charity for housing elderly people, rather than a charity to protect heritage buildings, the charity cannot justify spending that kind of money” and pointed out that “Anyone who bought it would of course have to follow the strict guidance of English Heritage when refurbishing it”.

 Previous residents of the buildings, called the Bishops Wood Almshouses, were moved by the charity that owns them into alternative accommodation in 2012 and they have lain empty ever since.

 Marcus Soak, who works in a shop nearby, said: “it’s better [they] be used for something than lying empty. Anything is better than empty buildings”.


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Students at St Mungo’s Recovery College find renewed satisfaction in learning

stmungoslogoStudents of the Recovery College often find a renewed satisfaction in learning, especially those affected by serious problems earlier in life, according to Matthew Burstein, the college’s administrator in Southwark, London.

The college is open to everyone; including St Mungo’s clients, volunteers, staff and the general public. By breaking down the barriers between students the college helps liberate those locked into the identity of being homeless and in need. The college is about equality and as long as the students bring a willingness to learn, it provides the rest.

The courses are designed to be educational rather than therapeutic, with the approach to recovery focusing on people’s skills and the future rather than their problems. Speaking with the Big Issue Online Journalists Matthew said: “The students set their own goals and the onus of attending the courses is placed upon them. People start to feel like valuable members of society when they start attending the college. This is because they start to feel like they are working towards achievable goals. This in turn starts to make them feel motivated.”

Some of the students that have attended the college have gone onto attend other institutions of further education and in some cases employment. Matthew says the aim of the college is not to push clients into education and employment, rather enable them to feel empowered enough to set and achieve their own goals. The college allows its clients to take part in any aspect of the college such as tutor, student or volunteer.

By promoting equality and focusing on people’s abilities rather than their problems the Recovery College creates a real sense of community and this is reflected in how previous students often return to St Mungo’s to run courses and workshops, or to share their skills and experiences as a volunteer.

Currently in its second year The Recovery College is funded by St Mungo’s, one of Britain’s largest charities supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. To find out more about St Mungo’s Recovery College visit their website.

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Filed under Features, Martin

From Babies With Love


In December 2010 Cecilia Crossley stood in front of her TV watching the annual Christmas charity campaign adverts, with her newborn baby in her arms. “ Imagine me in a dressing gown, sleep deprived, hormones all over the place, I was in absolute tears,” she said, adding : “I was distraught at the idea of children scavenging in rubbish dumps, living on street corners.”

This experience left Crossley with a passionate desire to make a difference and soon after, while out clothes shopping for her son Isaac, she was inspired. Crossley realised that people would be more willing to buy high quality clothing for their own children if they knew that by doing so they would be helping to clothe the worlds most disadvantaged children too. Continue reading

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