Easy, simple ways to make a difference and create change
Let’s be honest, we could all do with, and give, just a little bit more love and kindness to those around us, or to the environment, couldn’t we? A simple act of kindness, a small gesture, or just taking a moment to stop and think of others who are in need, or how our actions are impacting the environment, could really go a very long way.
With over a third of all food produced globally going waste, the average UK family throwing away food that equates to approximately £700 per year, food waste emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases, and with homelessness increasing year on year, could we be doing more? I know I could.
So I donned my researching cap and when on the hunt for ways I could step up and spread the love. Here are some of the inspiring start-ups, organisations, and charities, who are taking charge and leading the front line - with hard-hitting initiatives, ingenious ideas, and tremendous acts of kindness that are taking the world by storm..and what’s more, you and I can get involved too, with opportunities galore for caring, sharing, and making a difference.
Too Good To Go - this exciting European start-up has created an easy to use, all-round brilliant app with a focus on reducing food waste worldwide. Restaurants, cafes, and stores can team up with the company to offer food, that would otherwise be thrown out, at a substantially discounted rate to the public, meaning that surplus, unwanted food goes to a good home and not the dustbin, while the businesses still make a tidy profit - win win! The app tells you which outlets near you are offering food, then all you have to do is choose your desired munch, pay via the app, and turn up to collect within the allotted time. Not only is this app about giving surplus food a well-deserved home, this innovative start-up also has its eye on the environment - by reducing food waste we will also be helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (did you know that if global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of CO2, behind the USA and China!). https://toogoodtogo.co.uk/en-gb
Olio - ever gone on holiday and wondered what to do with the food left in your fridge? Olio has the answer! This neighbour to neighbour food sharing app is all about reducing waste, helping the environment, and developing connections within local communities, with a vision of creating a world in which nothing of value goes to waste, and where every person has enough food to eat. Whether it’s food that’s near its sell-by date, dried goods that you’re not going to use, or some leftover home-grown veggies from your garden, Olio offers a platform for you to easily give your items a loving home. Simply upload a photo of your item, add a short description, state where and when it is available for pick-up, and you’re ready to go - genius! https://olioex.com/
Community Fridge Network - London-based charity Hubbub are passionate about inspiring people to make healthier, greener choices, that not only help the environment, but that reduce food waste, make nutritious food accessible to those who need it, and bring people in a community together. Communal fridges are located throughout the country, and are public places where people and local businesses can donate surplus or unwanted food that might have otherwise gone to waste - anyone can donate, and anyone can take. To find out where your nearest community fridge is, to volunteer, or to set up your own community fridge, visit https://www.hubbub.org.uk/Event/community-fridge-network
The Real Junk Food Project - ‘Feed bellies not bins’ is the slogan right at the heart of The Real Junk Food Project, who are tackling unnecessary and avoidable food wastage head on. The project is a global, organic network of cafes, pop-ups, sharehouses, and partnerships with schools, that operate on a ‘pay as you feel’ concept. Surplus, edible food that is destined for the dustbin and landfill is diverted and made accessible once again for human consumption, with passionate volunteers turning it into nutritious, tasty meals and snacks, for those who need it the most. Head to the website to find out where your nearest ‘The Real Junk Food Project’ outlet is and for current volunteering opportunities. https://therealjunkfoodproject.org/
Black Sheep Coffee - the founders of Black Sheep Coffee, two uni friends who started the venture back in 2013, are passionate about supporting not only the local farmers of coffee plantations, but also the homeless community here in London. Their simple but brilliant and innovative idea really does have the potential to brighten up someone’s day, who otherwise would not have the means to buy a warming cup of coffee. By either donating a full loyalty card, or by purchasing an additional coffee for only £2 when paying for yours, a post-it note will be added to the ‘free coffee board’, which someone in need can tear off and take to the counter to redeem their free hot drink. https://www.leavetheherdbehind.com/
Suspended Coffees - the idea behind ‘Suspended Coffees’ is all about restoring faith in humanity, by highlighting and encouraging those simple acts of kindness that have the power to turn someone’s day, week, year, or even life around. So how does it work? By purchasing a coffee, or sandwich, hot soup, cold drink, or a snack, when you buy your own, the additional item will be added and logged as a ‘suspended item’, which someone can then redeem later on - and your item can be for absolutely anyone, anyone who needs it. And this really is so much more about the coffee, or sandwich, or snack, it is an act of kindness that can offer conversation, a safe environment, a smile, warmth, and comfort, to someone who really needs it. To find out where your local ‘Suspended Coffee’ cafe is, visit
Second Shot - located on Bethnal Green Road in the East End, Second Shot is tackling homelessness head on, by bringing people together, changing perceptions, and changing lives. Not only is this a cafe that is welcoming to absolutely everybody, it employs individuals who have been affected by homelessness themselves, trains them, and then helps to transition them into long-term employment and onto the path where they deserve to be. There is also a ‘pay it forward’ system, where you can pre-pay for a hot drink, snack or hot meal, which someone can then later receive free of charge. Can’t make it down to the cafe but still want to help someone out? Don’t worry, Second Shot have got it covered! You can even pay for your coffee, snack, or meal online, so that someone in need can receive it later on in-store - ingenious! https://secondshotcoffee.co.uk/shop/