Community RePaint were contacted by Marks & Spencer in early July and asked if we could help provide paint for the relevant projects. As the 24 projects were all based in the capital, we suggested that they contact our biggest scheme there, Community RePaint East London. The scheme obliged by supplying 336 litres of surplus, reusable paint to be used for murals and brightening up some of the worthy projects.
Some of the projects to be completed within the 24 hours included the transformation of an unused central London rooftop into a colourful children’s play area, renovating a community farmyard, providing a new dining room for a busy soup kitchen and the planting of an edible garden. Projects include St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and Brixton Soup Kitchen. This launch marks the start of further projects in 24 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland, over the next 24 months.
Led by Joanna Lumley and M&S CEO Marc Bolland, the company aims to ‘spark’ its 34 million customers into action by showing just what can be achieved in just one day when people come together united by a common goal. M&S developed Spark Something Good following extensive research which revealed that getting involved in community projects enhanced people’s lives.
Joanna Lumley, M&S Spark Something Good ambassador, comments: “This isn’t just about today or even tomorrow. It’s about the cumulative effect of people giving back to their community over time. We want to make people happy and spark a relay of good deeds across the nation and we need your help now! The potential is simply enormous.
“People tell us they’d like to support local charities and they want to give hands-on help and see lives being changed. Donating time is just as valuable as giving money and is often more rewarding.”
Marc Bolland, Marks & Spencer CEO, said: “M&S people and customers have always helped in their local community, by working together we know we can achieve even more by volunteering or making a donation to a charity that matters locally. We know the positive impact it can have and that a healthy high street needs a healthy community to support it. That’s why we’re making it easy to get involved and asking our people and customers to Spark Something Good.”
A newly created Spark Something Good website –www.marksandspencer.com/getinvolved – has been developed in partnership with the social network for social good, Neighbourly.com. The site shows the local fundraising and volunteering opportunities that every one of M&S’ owned stores are involved in.
Nick Davies, Founder of Neighbourly adds: “Finding community projects and matching them to people willing to help has always been difficult. We have worked with Marks & Spencer to bring the latest digital technology to empower the public to get involved with community projects on their own doorsteps. Anyone can take part and importantly it’s about people with energy, good ideas and vision. You don’t need to be a formal charity to get your idea off the ground. You just need a bright idea for social good. With the help of M&S and Spark Something Good, we can then direct local energy and enthusiasm to exactly where it is needed.”
Whatever an individual’s passion – from photography to DIY and gardening to cookery – there will be something for everyone on the Neighbourly network so that people can ensure their skills are put to use in their communities. So, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to grab a paintbrush, contact a local Community RePaint scheme and start giving your local community projects some TLC!
Spark Something Good is part of Plan A, M&S’s ground-breaking eco and ethical programme. M&S has a long history of giving something back to the community. In the past seven years M&S has raised more than £50 million for charity partners, raised £15 million for Oxfam through its Shwopping initiative and encouraged its employees to volunteer by allowing an annual, paid volunteer day.