M&S kickstarts Neighbourly Community Fund with €50,000 investment

Workers in Marks & Spencer stores across Ireland voted in favour of industrial action

The Neighbourly Community Fund, kickstarted by M&S, has already supported ten Irish local charities and community groups



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21 April 2020

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M&S recently launched a new community fund, which it kickstarted with an immediate investment of €50,000. This allowed community platform Neighbourly to develop an emergency fund and distribute in phases to its existing network of charities and community groups across Ireland.

In addition to this, M&S stores are continuing to redistribute all surplus food to the Neighbourly network across Ireland, via the Neighbourly platform.  M&S is due to launch an app to make it easier for colleagues to connect surplus product with the right local charity in Ireland.

M&S has been working closely with Neighbourly, its long-standing partner for over five years, throughout this difficult period. To date, ten grants have been issued to key charities and organisations who have availed of funds through Neighbourly, supported by the M&S donation including The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Cork Cancer Care Centre, We Care LK Food Bank, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Leitrim International Community Group and Little Blue Heroes.

The funds have been a huge support to those in need during a particularly difficult time. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has been able to secure funding from the initiative at a time when its biggest and most important fundraiser, Alzheimer’s Tea Day, due to take place in every town in Ireland on Thursday, 7 May, has been postponed contributing to a severe drop in fundraising of €1 million.

Funding has also supported Little Blue Heroes, a not-for-profit charitable foundation established by garda staff which aims to support local gardaí in providing financial assistance to families with children that have serious illness who are in need. The funds have allowed Little Blue Hereos to send out over €10,000 worth of practical support as part of its ‘Easter Aid’ pack for 100 families to alleviate some mounting pressures. This is all made possible by the supporting funds offered by Neighbourly allowing Little Blue Heroes to continue to help them back their heroes.

“Community organisations are coming under immense pressure and need support now more than ever,” said Zoe Colosimo, COO of Neighbourly. “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.”

Ken Scully, M&S Ireland country manager said he was “really proud” of the role the retailer plays in local communities. “This includes the time and energy our brilliant colleagues give not only in the service they provide to our customers but also to helping those most in need,” Scully said, adding that the Neighbourly Community Fund will help mobilise local charities and organisations across Ireland to support the most vulnerable members of our community.”

In a press statement, M&S added that one of its 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.” M&S has already put in place measures to support customers, colleagues and communities, and says “the M&S family will do its best to help every family it can”.



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