The Mears Foundation is a grant-making trust. It seeks to harness the goodwill, talents, and skills within Mears to raise money through charitable donations and fundraising activities. The income is then used to directly benefit the like-minded charities and good causes that provide practical support to vulnerable people and communities across the UK.
We work to improve the lives and life chances of the many groups and individuals that share our values. We provide opportunities and skills that enable them to become stronger and more self-reliant.
2021 was another challenging year for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to lead to unprecedented challenges faced by society, healthcare, food systems and the world of work. In the UK, the success of the vaccination programme promises a better operating environment for 2022. However, the impact of last two years on the most vulnerable members of society will be felt for years to come.
Our activities in 2021
The Foundation received 68 applications for support, all of which were acknowledged. The Foundation was pleased to award 58 grants to charities offering support to their communities, in addition to volunteer support by Mears staff.
- 2021 saw the Foundation significantly increase its income from donations and therefore managed to increase considerably the number of grants awarded to causes that support the building of communities in the United Kingdom.
- Despite Covid restrictions, the Foundation delivered several successful fundraising events.
- The Foundation has worked with HACT to develop a social value calculator to better report on its impact.
- In 2021, for every £1 granted, the Foundation delivered £200 in social value.
- In 2021, the Foundation also launched its Friends of Mears initiative. This programme seeks partnerships with corporate supporters to extend the Foundation’s ability to support community projects for public benefit.
Spotlight on some of the grant-funded projects supported in 2021:
Herts Young Homeless
The Foundation looks to build strong, long-term relationships with like-minded charities such as Herts Young Homeless ensuring support is available for those who need it the most.
Herts Young Homeless offers many different services to support people who are facing the most difficult of times at such a young age. They offer the Homeless Hub, a front door to homeless prevention service in Hertfordshire, an outreach service for people aged 18 and over, providing mediation, health advice and education.
How we are helping: Mears Foundation is helping this amazing charity with their Live Life Project. This project is for young people who have experienced homelessness (e.g., sofa surfing or staying in temporary accommodation). The Foundation grant will cover the costs of running this project allowing a Live Life member who has reached out to HYH for regular support throughout the year, including transport to and from regular Live Life meetings, training, employment, and social skills plus signposting to any other services such as mental health support or counselling.
The Curve Food Pantry
Octavia Housing, RBKC & Hammersmith & Fulham support people affected by ill health, social isolation, low income, or unemployment in central and west London. The charity delivers a young people’s programme which offers a wide range of innovative, inclusive and creative activities to provide opportunities for young people. They also have an employment and training team who offer one-to-one information, advice and guidance to empower individuals to reach their goals and provide them with the tools and resources to successfully search, apply for and gain paid employment.
How we are helping: The Mears Foundation has helped Octavia add to their services by awarding a grant that will be used to support those on low income and in food poverty. The stigma of using a traditional foodbank was proving a barrier to their residents accessing the very basic of needs – food. The grant awarded by the Foundation will help Octavia to set up their own ‘Food Pantry’, giving a more dignified approach to accessing vital food items, offering residents more choice and value. They plan to use a space in the community centre which is at the heart of their community of more than 2,000 Octavia residents, plus surrounding Hammersmith & Fulham.
Cleland Miners Boxing & Community Club
Motherwell Cleland Miners Boxing Club is a boxing and community club for anyone from the local area aged 8 -40. The club currently opens three nights a week for training, keep fit classes and dance classes. All of the classes are offered for free; the club doesn’t feel it's right to stop people training, keeping fit, dancing or coming together because they can't afford it. The club is run purely on a voluntary basis – and anyone is welcome.
How we are helping: The Mears Foundation saw a great opportunity to help a community in a deprived area where community activity was difficult to come by and joined forces with the Mears supply chain, making a difference to a community meeting place.
The Foundation involved Friends of the Foundation partners CEF, electrical experts and one of Mears top suppliers in helping to update the club’s heating. By working together, the Foundation and CEF donated 10 new heat efficient heaters meaning the club could stay open longer in the colder months when isolation can become a problem.
The Health and Wellness Hub: Motherwell
A community organisation in Motherwell that provides a range of health and wellbeing activities (including holistic therapies, classes -yoga, tai chi, Pilates, Zumba, chair-based exercise and peer support groups) and volunteering opportunities to our most vulnerable community members.
How we are helping: The Mears Foundation awarded a grant to The Health and Wellness Hub to enable them to continue to offer services that alleviate social isolation and loneliness in their local community. The grant will enable the Hub to fund their ‘Buddies’ project ensuring they can provide sufficient volunteers and telephone-based support to their service users. This in turn will help local people connect and transition back into wider group and community life after long periods of social isolation and exclusion due to Covid restrictions.
The project supports 35 local people who require befriending support around mental health and wellbeing. This service enables people to take part in group activities, allowsothers on low income to get involved, increased confidence and wellbeing and made those in the group feel valued and in a better position to seek training and employment opportunities.
“The befriending service has been a great lifeline for me and gives me contact with the outside world, it's been great receiving the calls, and I hope to do something face to face with other people too in the future.” T
Making a difference in 2022
In 2022, the Mears Foundation will continue its work to build communities in the United Kingdom through grants and partnerships that alleviate:
- Food Poverty
- Fuel Poverty
- Digital Poverty
- Social Isolation and Loneliness