WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER: M&S SPARKS NEIGHBOURLY ACTION WITH NEW FUND TO MOBILISE OVER 1,000 LOCAL CHARITIES AND COMMUNITY GROUPS ACROSS THE UK
- Whole M&S Family has come together (including M&S Bank and M&S Energy) to support long-standing M&S partner, Neighbourly
- The Neighbourly Community Fund, kickstarted by M&S, will support hundreds of local organisations (from food banks to youth clubs) to immediately deliver on the ground community support to the most vulnerable
- M&S will also donate every time a customer uses their Sparks card if they select the Neighbourly Community Fund as their preferred partner
- Charities supported by Neighbourly – in these uncertain times – need urgent help with everything from running core services, to offering emergency food parcels, to setting up new digital befriending programmes
Today (Saturday 21st March), the M&S family (including M&S Bank and M&S Energy) is announcing to its customers the launch of the new Neighbourly Community Fund. The family of businesses is kickstarting the fund with an immediate investment of £100,000, for community platform Neighbourly to put into an emergency fund and distribute in phases to its existing network of hundreds of charities and community groups across the UK.
M&S customers can support by selecting the Neighbourly Community Fund as their Sparks charity1. Sparks is M&S’s loyalty programme which offers a range of benefits including a penny donation by M&S to a charity of your choice every time you shop in-store or online. To date over £6million has been donated to good causes in this way.
In addition to this, M&S stores will continue to redistribute all surplus food or flowers to the Neighbourly network of hundreds of organisations via the Neighbourly platform. Earlier this year M&S launched an app to make it easier for colleagues to connect surplus product with the right local charity.
The M&S family will work closely with Neighbourly, it’s long-standing partner for over five years, throughout this difficult period – listening to what the community needs are as the situation changes and evolves.
Zoe Colosimo, COO of Neighbourly said, “Community organisations are coming under immense pressure and need support now more than ever. Immediate funding can help give immediate peace of mind that they can take urgent action to support the most vulnerable in our society. We know needs will evolve as we move through this crisis - from loneliness to hunger to financial concern, but we’re all in this together and we must keep working together.”
Steve Rowe, CEO of M&S said, "One of the things that makes me most proud to work at M&S is the role we play in our local communities. Not just through the brilliant service our colleagues give to our customers, but through the time and energy they give to helping those most in need. We can’t do this on our own and so we partner with organisations like Neighbourly who link our stores to local causes so we can donate surplus food and non-food products to the people who really need it. This fund will help mobilise over 1,000 local charities and organisations across the UK to support the most vulnerable members of our community. The whole M&S family is getting involved - including M&S Bank and M&S Energy – so we can keep up the support communities need most as events unfold."
Alongside this local activation, at a national level, the M&S family is also donating £100,000 to the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal and customers can get involved by selecting this as their Sparks charity.
One of M&S’s core values is to be “all in for the customer” – recognising this isn’t enough at the moment the team’s guiding value is “we’re all in this together.” The team is here to help and has already put in place measures to support customers, colleagues and communities2 – the M&S family will do its best to help every family it can
For further information, please contact:
M&S External Comms
0208 718 1919
Notes to Editors:
1 Further Detail: How to select the Neighbourly Community Fund or the National Emergency Trust on Sparks
- Join or Login to your Sparks account
- Select the charity section and click on Edit Charity
- Select chosen charity by clicking on the logo (here you can also view information on the charity and their charity number), don't forget to hit the Save Charity button for this to take effect!
2 Measures M&S has put in place to support customers, colleagues and the wider community
- Introducing regular shopping hours for older and vulnerable customers (Monday & Thursday)
- Introducing regular shopping hours for NHS workers and Primary Emergency Services (Tuesday & Friday)
- In response to customers increasingly asking M&S colleagues for guidance on freezing fresh items, M&S has provided some helpful online tips and added in-store ‘suitable for freezing signage’
- Extending temporary purchasing restrictions to two items per customer to Frozen Foods, Homecare, Groceries and Eggs
- Transferring 4600 roles from our Clothing & Home and Café teams to support our Food team
- Pausing close fit services – bra fit and suit fitting
- Working with suppliers to increase production of British food products
- Introducing a contact-free delivery experience for all Clothing, Home, Flowers, Hampers and Wine orders
- Increasing hygiene measures across our stores and supply chain
- Offering currency refunds to any M&S Bank customers that are no longer able to travel due to COVID-19
- Supporting all our hard-working colleagues should they need to self-isolate or household isolate with full pay (including the over 70s and pregnant colleagues)
- For those colleagues who may find their families facing temporary hardship, we have set up a colleague fund to give them extra help.
Like all retailers, M&S is working tirelessly across its stores, supply chain and support centres to deliver for its customers and help feed the nation. Over the coming weeks, M&S will continue looking at ways to support its customers, colleagues and communities during this exceptional time.
Neighbourly is an award-winning giving platform that helps businesses make a positive impact in their communities by donating volunteer time, money and surplus products, all in one place. Read more here.