For Starbucks – community means two things – being involved in the communities where we are, and backing young people – nationwide.
Being good neighbours is something we take seriously and is led locally by our store managers. They know what is important to their communities and how to best support them. So, whether it is providing coffee and refreshments for the school Christmas Fayre in Crouch End or fund-raising the Children’s Hospital in Sheffield our store partners are committed to doing good locally.
In addition to being good neighbours we can use our size and our brand for good, by bringing people together, inspiring change and making a difference. In the UK and Ireland we are focused on backing young people. With 6 million 16-24 year olds in the UK, and one million of whom are currently not in education, employment or training, our commitment to backing young people has never been more important.
I applied to Partner Fund this time last year to support me in completing the massage specialism of my NVQ in beauty therapy. I could then hold regular relaxation mornings alongside local charities in Liverpool to support women who have been victims of domestic violence.
I feel strongly about volunteering my time in this way, because sometimes I don’t think women get the help they really need or deserve, and when they do it’s such a long road back to recovery. Every positive influence they get gives them that little boost they need. It’s unbelievable how lovely these women are, but at the same time how sad they are; they have lost all confidence in themselves and in the people around them. When you find out most of them have children that have been through this with them, and are living with them in the hostels, it’s heartbreaking.
In July 2011 two store managers, and a barista from Newcastle decided they were going to raise even more money for a local charity by taking part in a trek of Machu Picchu in Peru. These dedicated partners are Laura Haigh, Becca Haigh and Stephen Langley.
In March 2011, I began my project Snow and Lights funded by the Starbucks Partner Fund. I was given £2000 so I could get the necessary equipment to help me create artwork that would bring together school children from around the world.
I collected 10,266 paper snowflakes from children at primary schools from the local area here in Hull, as well as in London, Switzerland, Namibia, Qatar, India, New Zealand and USA. These snowflakes were for a video installation that would be incorporated into Hull's Christmas Light Switch-On, 24th November. With more than 20,000 people in attendance it was a fantastic night for all those who were involved.