With charities facing an estimated £10 billion shortfall as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, lockdown has encouraged many people to commit to charitable endeavours. There have been some incredible achievements over recent weeks, from Captain Tom’s heroic efforts to smaller acts of kindness in communities across the country.
At Black Swan, we believe in the importance of working with charities to deliver a positive social impact. So, we’ve been doing our bit during lockdown in support of The Magpie Project.
Supporting the fantastic work of The Magpie Project
The Magpie Project is a fantastic charity, providing practical support and advice to mothers with children under the age of five who are in temporary or insecure accommodation in London’s Forest Gate.
Many of the people the charity helps have suffered domestic abuse and are threatened with homelessness. The Magpie Project aims to ensure that a spell in temporary accommodation does not cause permanent damage to children who experience it.
Four out of five mums who approach the charity have no recourse to public funds, and so the support they provide is absolutely essential to both them and their children.
“We believe all children have a right to a secure, safe place to play, healthy food, engaged parents, and access to support no matter what their family circumstances. We can’t solve the housing crisis, but we believe in making mums and children’s lives better during their time in temporary accommodation.”
As the charity is located just a short train ride from our office, we have adopted this as our local good cause, and we try and visit and help out as much as we can.
As you might imagine, the charity has been extremely busy over the last few months. Hannah, who runs the project, says: “We have basically been open as an emergency food bank for our mums for the past 11 weeks, packing shopping bags with food, nappies, formula milk, wipes and other essentials.”
Hannah herself was struck down with Covid-19 early on – ‘an awful virus’ – and has been running the project from her bed.
She adds: “We have been delivering to 140 mums across London and even wider – Croydon, North London and South London with volunteer drivers from the community. We have had an amazing response from our community.”
Providing emotional and practical support to mums and children
One of the ways the project provides support is through a WhatsApp group. This group allows mums to keep in touch with one another and provide emotional and practical support.
However, not all the people the charity seeks to help have the right tech or data to join the group. So, Black Swan stepped in and supplied ten new smartphones to mums the charity was helping.
Even in a short time, Hannah tells us that this has made a big difference to the mums they support. She says: “We often meet a mum, hear her story and discover that a phone/internet is one of her worries. It’s so great to be able to open the filing cabinet and just send one out.
“It’s such a brilliant instant response and so lovely when the mums pop up in our WhatsApp community and are connected to other mums. You can’t put a price on that sort of support. I have given three or four phones out and, so far, we’ve had no technical problems!
“It’s good to know we have your back up”.
Head to The Magpie Project website to find out more about their fantastic work and to make a donation.