We are not a charity. Like most small businesses we work hard to support our families. But however much we complain about our lot, we know we are still very fortunate compare to many others. So we think it is appropriate in our small way to give something back and not squander the resources we have.
PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
Closer to home, one policy we can adopt is to protect the environment as best we can, by choosing appropriate materials and production methods for our products and recycling wherever possible. This is not a perfect world and this has to be done within the commercial constraints in which we operate.
BUY LOCAL PRODUCE
Where ever possible we will support local producers either by buying products directly or by putting them in contact with others.
For so long now the big buyers (supermarket chains are particularly guilty of this) have been driving down the price that a producer gets for his products. In some cases the problem is so bad that poor farmers in the developing world barely earn a living wage whilst the buyers in the west get richer and richer. The fairtrade organisation is redressing the balance by setting standards, forming cooperatives and guaranteeing minimum prices and putting money into local economies. This has given whole communities hope and enabled them to build schools and medical facilities. Cynics will say this just an excuse for retailers to increase prices and that not all of the increase goes to the producer. But you must remember that in a capitalist society everybody in the chain (including us) has to make a profit in order to function. If we ask too much for the product nobody will buy it. Get it right and the farmer gets a far fairer deal. For more information click here: www.fairtrade.org.uk
We don’t believe that giving money is a solution in itself. So often a lot of hard work, knowledge and help supported by a little money are what is required. Most of the people in the developing world are proud, honest and want to work. They simply lack the knowledge and basic resources. Any help that is given (apart from, perhaps, major disasters) should be to enable them to support themselves in the future. Some examples of the work we have supported follows. These have no direct link to the business.
Close to home.
As a parent I can think of no greater tragedy than to loose a child. To watch your child die through cancer has to be the pits. Very often looking after a sick child restricts the amount of time a parent can work at a time when money is needed most. The National Patients Support Trust provides funds to make patients and relatives lives more comfortable where the NHS cannot help. Link: www.acumen-bcp.co.uk/npstlink.html
TSUNAMI in THAILAND
This is an amazing story and is the best illustration of a case where the efforts of one person and a little money from his friends transformed the lives of many unfortunate people.
I had made contact with several of the boys I was at school with, through ‘Friendsreunited’. Technically called ‘The Old Finchleans’ but more usually referred to as ‘The Old Farts’!
One of the ‘boys’, Pete Joyce, lives in Thailand near Phuket. Fortunately he was not there when the Tsunami struck, but returned a few days later. Pete had made friends over the years with the Mogen (sometimes called Moken) tribe who are semi-nomadic Sea Gypsies of maybe Burmese/Malay origin and who are about the most underprivileged group in the region. Tsunami all but destroyed their boats and with it any hope of making a living. The way they fish is somewhat unusual. The boats have on board a compressor. Out at sea they put out their nets and then, with an air hose between their teeth (no mask or fins), they chase the fish into the nets. In their spare time they hold a rock to keep them down and walk around the reef looking for lobsters! Health and Safety please note!
We all contributed some money and Pete set about getting a new boat. A 38’ longtail wooden boat can be had for just £700! They recovered most of the engines and nets and needed to buy a compressor. This boat supports a man called Sit-Lak and his family of 13! Along the way Pete also managed to blag half a ton of rice, corrugated iron
and wood, amongst other things! In all Pete managed to provide or repair boats, engines, compressors and nets for five families and occasionally buy the local kids ice-cream for around £3000. What amazing value is that? In a space of only some 3 weeks he turned Rawai beach from a place of despair and no hope back to near normal activity! All before the big disaster relief funds had even decided how they were going to spend their money.
WALKING THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA FOR GREAT ORMOND STREET HOSPITAL
We are happy to encourage employees if they want to get involved in raising money for most charities. Karen Neill wanted to raise money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital by spending 11 days of her annual leave walking the Great Wall of China. This is an event organised by GOSHCC. We paid her deposit and travel insurance and she raised the rest through family, friends and events. For Karen it was hard work but an adventure she will never forget and her group raised £128,403 for a new scanner. Well done them! For more details and future events go to: www.gosh.org.