5. ENGAGING WITH OUR COMMUNITY
Our “coffee community” extends beyond Glasgow and our own operations which is why our community strand reflects our commitment to making a positive impact within our different spheres of impact.
In pursuit of our aim to promote fairer terms of trade for coffee farmers in 2019-20 we have been involved in the consultation process for the new Rainforest Alliance standards. Furthermore, our Managing Director, Ewan Reid, was a guest speaker at an event at the University of Bath, “Fairtrade or Direct Trade - What is the difference? and our Sustainability Manager, Amy Oroko, was a guest panelist at the Fairtrade Foundation’s “She Deserves” event in Fairtrade Fortnight 2020.
In June 2019, Make-A-Wish was voted our new charity partner. We kicked off our fundraising for them with our “Steptember” challenge and Jingle & Mingle Christmas event (see below for more details). We were also delighted to continue taking part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event and raised £355 for Macmillan Cancer Support through our bake sale.
We have established relationships with local food banks through donations of Espresso Warehouse products reaching the end of their shelf life, and we hosted our first food bank collection in 2019. Our employees contributed food and toiletries to donate to the Glasgow South East Food Bank in December, supporting vulnerable families in our community over the Christmas period.
As well as keeping up our ongoing partnership with Holyrood Secondary School, we were pleased to support students at Hutchesons Grammar School with their coffee-related project. See below for more information on their excellent work in Malawi!
Stepping Up to our Fundraising Challenge for Make-A-Wish
2019 saw an opportunity to choose a new local charity partner and we turned to our employees to help us decide. Nominations for charities were collated with several shortlisted potential partners. The final decision was put to a vote. We were delighted that Make-A-Wish UK & Make-A-Wish Ireland were selected as our new partners.
Keen to make a real impact in our first year of fundraising, we created “Steptember” as our fundraising challenge for employees. 40 employees signed up, forming eight teams, and participants were asked to keep a record of all the steps walked during September. The aim was 10,000 daily steps which introduced a competitive element, encouraging everyone to be active. The team that collectively walked the furthest were awarded an additional day of annual leave. The more steps walked by the team, the more the company donated in matched-funding for their fundraising.
Overall, the teams collectively walked 15,140,708 steps during the month which on average worked out at 12,617 steps a day per person for the entire month! An incredible achievement! The participants also raised £1,645 for Make-A-Wish. This, added to the matched funding from Matthew Algie, brought the total donated to £3,178, enough to sponsor a wish for a critically ill young person in Glasgow.
Why did we choose Make-A-Wish? The charity’s aim is to grant a wish to every critically ill child. From starring in their own films, to having an amazing holiday, to meeting a celebrity hero, every wish is personal.
Just one example is the wish that was granted to Willow. Willow lives with Aicardi syndrome - a rare genetic condition, causing her to experience severe, uncontrolled epilepsy and learning and mobility disabilities. Her unique wish to have her own music festival, WillowFest! Watch this video to see how WillowFest came to life:
“The thing that really attracted me to the challenge was the cause. I think Make-A-Wish is an amazing charity and I particularly like the fact that, depending on how much you raise, the money can be allocated to a specific wish. So you can see how you’ve actually helped an individual and their family. So that as was the real impetus for me.”
Estelle MacGilp, Coffee Buyer
Additional Team Benefits The results of our feedback survey demonstrate the additional benefits the challenge brought for those who participated:
- 89% said that taking part had encouraged them to be more active.
- 72% said it helped them to see how they could fit more activity into their daily lives.
- 72% said it had helped them to form healthier habits, which they hoped to continue.
- 89% said it was great for team building at Matthew Algie
Festive Fundraising We donated a further £384 to Make-A-Wish following our “Jingle and Mingle” event. Employees gathered for games, festive hot drinks and the judging of our Christmas Bake-Off competition just before the Christmas holidays. To raise money for our charity partner we asked employees to don a Christmas outfit and donate £1 to Make-A-Wish
Fundraising with Hutcheson Grammar School
We supplied coffee from the Mzuzu Coffee Cooperative in Malawi to the J8 project, an initiative run by students at a school local to our Glasgow roastery, Hutchesons’ Grammar. Pupils sold the coffee to raise funds to help two partner schools in Malawi - Liwonde and Katoto secondary schools. Only 22% of children in Malawi complete their lower secondary education*, so the projects are aimed at increasing access to secondary schooling.
* UNICEF Database on Secondary Education Completion Rates, 2019, available here.
Specifically, the students used the profits from the coffee sales to:
- Sponsor 7 students in the two Malawi schools, paying for their school fees and uniforms so that they can remain in school until they sit their all-important school-leaving exams.
- Sponsor the education of Martha and Thoko Chisi, two children with albinism. People with albinism are under threat of attack in some parts of Malawi, where witch doctors have promoted a belief in the magical properties of their body parts. Therefore, it’s really important for Martha and Thoko’s safety that they can attend a residential school.
- Raise awareness of the plight of children with albinism.
- Organise for Mothers’ Support Groups, representatives of the school the village Chief to gather local parents and engage them on the importance of their children’s secondary education.
- Collect and send school textbooks for the pupils to use.
We are blown away by the passion and the impact these pupils have had through their fundraising! You can find out more about their ongoing projects here.