Waitrose & Partners launches £1m initiative to tackle UK plastic pollution

Waitrose & Partners will today launch a £1 million grant fund to give money to projects designed to reduce unnecessary plastic and tackle plastic pollution.

Plan Plastic – The Million Pound Challenge will award money, over one year, to projects that can demonstrate an impact on plastic pollution now and in the future. The retailer is partnering with environmental charity Hubbub to support the chosen projects and measure the impact of the grants.

The £1 million fund has been raised from the sale of 5p carrier bags and grants will range from £150,000 to £300,000.

Applications for Plan Plastic are open until 24th February and will be welcomed from a range of organisations including charities, academic bodies, social enterprises, and schools & colleges, across the following project areas:

· Plastics in the community – projects encouraging and enabling plastic recycling and the circular economy linked to social impact, for example, promoting wellbeing in the community.

· Education – campaigns aimed at children and young people to raise awareness and change behaviour to reduce plastic pollution.

· Public behaviour change – projects inspiring and enabling new ways of shopping and consuming.

· Food, agriculture and farming – projects focusing on finding alternatives, reducing use, and increasing reuse of plastics in the food, agriculture and farming industries.

· Micro plastics – projects aimed at identifying the impact, reducing the prevalence and preventing micro plastic pollution.

Organisations can apply via the Plan Plastic – The Million Pound Challenge website at www.planplasticfund.com.

An independent expert panel made up of representatives from academia, industry, non-governmental organisations, business and a senior Waitrose Partner, will convene in April to review the submissions. The chosen grantees will be announced in May 2019.

Tor Harris, Head of CSR, Health & Agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, said: “We hope the fund will help find new and effective ways of accelerating action to rethink how we all use and dispose of plastic now and in the future. We take this issue very seriously, and are making progress all the time, but we’re determined to maintain our momentum as well as supporting others to do the same.”

Trewin Restorick, CEO and Founder, Hubbub said: “Waitrose’s new grant fund is tremendously exciting as it will support innovative thinking on how to combat the issue of plastic pollution. We’ll be on the lookout for entries that really demonstrate a tangible impact and that will have a longer-term legacy beyond the grant funding stage. We’d encourage any eligible organisation working in this space to apply via the website.

Waitrose & Partners is passionate about reducing its impact on the environment and the amount of plastic waste it creates. The retailer has committed to removing all 5p plastic bags from its shops by March 2019 and will also replace loose fruit and vegetable bags with a home compostable alternative by spring 2020. By doing this it will cut almost 134 million bags each year from the environment, which equates to 500 tonnes of plastic.

Waitrose & Partners has also pledged not to sell any own-label products in black plastic packaging beyond 2019 and has already hit its target to remove black plastic on its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and veg. Waitrose is committed to making all its own-label packaging widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2023.

Watchdog says third sector needs to improve standards of reporting

The Charity Commission recently reported that too many charities were “falling short” when it came to sharing their work in annual reports. The Commission reviewed 100 randomly selected reports and found that less than three quarters were of an “acceptable quality”.

Perhaps explaining why a gold standard remained so elusive, the Government watchdog also found that just 51% of charities understand what is required of them when reporting the public benefit of their work (something that differs depending on the size of the charity). Tellingly, the most common reason cited for inadequate reporting was that reports “did not explain the charitable activities the charity had carried out.”

Recent events have seen a huge dip in public trust for charities and people understandably want to see real-world results. While an annual report can still be a golden opportunity to prove a charity’s work is worth supporting, today we have an incredible range of comms tools at our disposal to share stories with the public. Does the Charity Commission believe that an annual report is the most effective means of doing this?

Whatever role it plays in your comms mix, it sounds simple enough – an annual report is a chance to demonstrate impact. We like to think less summary, more ‘so what?’ But perhaps some of the challenges come from a perceived lack of value or uses for the annual report. In a time-poor sector, how much resource can justifiably be poured into one document?

An annual report doesn’t have to be a compliance exercise. It doesn’t have to live and die on a website. The balance of simple stats to demonstrate the overall effectiveness of a charity alongside case studies that show individual human, environmental or other impact can resonate deeply with readers.

Consider some of the benefits of putting wider communications objectives at the centre of a compelling report:

  • A good PR professional can select the stories told to demonstrate impact in a report and maximise them through media, pinpointing the most suitable home for beneficiary stories
  • Campaigners can use annual report findings as a catalyst – building a case for change identified by the legacy of that years’ work
  • Service marketing strategies can stem from a report – are some services in need of more promotion or uptake than others?
  • Annual reports can provide ample social content – infographics, interactive segments, animations and short video interviews can bring impact to life
  • They can win awards! Start the job with an award in mind to keep innovation levels high.

By seeing an annual report as a springboard to wider publicity, we change the way it is approached as a project, making it work harder for stakeholders and adding value to the whole communications mix. So much incredible work goes on in the charity sector every year – it’s time to make sure everyone knows about it.

Written by Beth Andlaw
Vice-Chair of the PRCA Charity and Not-for-Profit Group
Barley Communications Associate

Guest blog – Making Veteran Homelessness a thing of the past

Getting the system right is vital. Identifying those people who may struggle and making sure they get the right advice is critical

Crisis issued a report setting out their plans to make homelessness ‘a thing of the past.’ Reducing homelessness to zero is absolutely the right objective and one we share in the veterans’ sector. We are also optimistic that it can be done.

The question is how? Every year over 1,000 ex-service personnel need urgent support to find accommodation – that’s a lot of lives, a lot of associated mental health problems, a lot of affected families and friends. There are all sorts of reasons why former members of the Armed Forces end up being homeless. For Alan the trigger was relationship breakdown, for Brian it was unemployment and lack of money, for Ian it was a combination of living with PTSD and his erratic behaviour, which made his relationship untenable.

All three of these gentlemen have a home now. But they and many others have spent time being homeless that could have been avoided. Time spent living under a bridge by the River Thames, looking in bins for food, sofa surfing.

Working in partnership with other organisations which provide accommodation for ex-servicemen and women – we developed a Call to Action to highlight the key issues that need addressing if we are to avoid more people like Alan, Brian and Ian being homeless:

  • The Ministry of Defence needs to ensure that every single service leaver, whatever their circumstances, is asked about their housing options after service. Those identified of being at risk of homelessness should be given bespoke advice.
  • All Local Authorities and other agencies in the ‘civilian’ sphere must establish if a person seeking housing support is a veteran and then have a clear plan to respond to the veterans they identify.
  • The signs are positive. The Ministry of Defence is developing a new veterans’ strategy and we are working with the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood MP, to ensure tackling homelessness is included.

We are also taking some practical steps, such as introducing the Veterans Housing Advice service telephone support for homeless Veterans and launching a vacancies dashboard that lists all the available properties across the country that have been ring-fenced for Veterans.

Getting the system right is vital. Identifying those people who may struggle and making sure they get the right advice is critical.

But we also have to address the actual shortage of affordable social housing for Veterans. Research by the University of York identified that the garrison town of Aldershot faces a specific shortage of housing for Veterans and that is why I am so pleased that this week we have opened 34 new homes in the town for Veterans to rent. We are working to ensure that anyone who serves their country has an appropriate place to live – a place to call home where they can rebuild their lives.

Veteran Craig Wheatley served in the Army for 11 years and is due to move into his new home. He told me that he’s ready for the next step, to move into his own flat and that without help he didn’t know where he’d be today. A new flat gives Craig a fresh opportunity for the future.

The new homes, to be opened by Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex, are called Centenary Lodge to mark 100 years from the end of World War One – and 100 years since our organisation was formed. The project has taken us a step closer to reducing homelessness to zero and enabling more Veterans to lead fulfilling and independent lives. I hope it will take a lot less than 100 years before we have enough suitable homes for all the Veterans who need them.

You can support the campaign to reduce homelessness to zero by signing up here. This blog can also be found on Huffington Post.

Guest blog from Ed Tytherleigh, Chief Executive of Veterans’ charity, Stoll

Borough Market

Borough Market is London’s oldest food market, having been established over 1,000 years ago.  Today it is a vibrant, diverse market renowned for its exceptional produce, which is run as a charity for the benefit of the community.

Borough Market puts sustainability at the heart of its operations and Barley was appointed in July 2017 to support with sustainability communications. Our first goal was to raise awareness about the new drinking water fountains in Borough Market, alongside an announcement of the Market’s intention to go plastic-free over the next six months. The extensive media coverage included The Guardian, i, Sun, Metro, Telegraph and Evening Standard, BBC London, ITV London and London Live.  Borough Market has since been cited as an example to follow in follow up pieces in The Guardian, Refinery 29, Lonely Planet News, Scotland on Sunday and Mail Online.

[notebox]Borough Market is London’s oldest food market, having been established over 1,000 years ago.

No Time To Die crew


Working closely with the client, Barley developed a social media strategy and implemented the initial launch phase of #CREWMATTER – a social media campaign that had two important objectives. First, to create awareness of the life-changing and career-ending injuries sustained by stunt woman Olivia Jackson on the set of Resident Evil The Final Chapter. Second, to create a movement on socNo Time To Die crewial media to demand changes in the film industry so that crew who get injured get compensated and looked after.

Primarily targeting the UK and US markets, our goal was to encourage people to take a photo of themselves holding a #CREWMATTER placard, share it with their followers on their social channels, and use our campaign messaging to amplify the campaign and create a movement.

Focusing on Instagram, the campaign attracted global attention from people interested in film and those in the film industry. Not only gaining support from the film-going public and the stunt world, but film and TV stars including Chris Hemsworth, UK favourite Ross Kemp, and the crew of the latest James Bond film ‘No Time to Die’.

The dedicated @CREWMATTER profile we created secured over 4,000 organic followers in only five days from launch, with hundreds of people showing their support by posting their #CREWMATTER photos on their channels. Re-posted on the @CREWMATTER channel to amplify the campaign and demonstrate the impact it was having, in just two weeks the activity generated over 800 uses of the #CREWMATTER hashtag, over 100,000 impressions and thousands of ‘hearts’ and comments – with one post alone receiving 1,398 hearts and 1,020 comments.

The campaign goes on.

Barley appointed by Borough Market

Borough Market is London’s oldest food market, having been established over 1,000 years ago.  Today it is a vibrant, diverse market renowned for its exceptional produce, which is run as a charity for the benefit of the community.

Borough Market puts sustainability at the heart of its operations and Barley has been appointed to support with sustainability communications.



stoll aldershotStoll is an amazing charity and housing association providing homes and support to hundreds of Veterans, many of whom face significant health challenges.

We find the stories to generate content across all platforms: from Stoll’s service commemorating the Battle of the Somme to Stoll’s social housing options, including their new development in Aldershot, the home of the British Army.

We work hand in glove with Stoll’s fundraising team to raise awareness of events like its recent 540 feet abseil challenge and the centenary gala dinner and carol concert which was hosted by the Countess of Wessex.

“Working with Barley is great. I like the way they have taken the time to get to know our organisation and understand our needs and those of the vulnerable Veterans we serve. They are like an extension of our in house team.”  Ed Tytherleigh, CEO, Stoll


Barley blog: Would you accept a CV with typos?


For the last few months a disabled friend of mine, Dave Crowl, has been sending me emails with 0s in place of Os. I didn’t give it much thought until I spoke with Dave about it: the letter o on his keyboard has given up. Dave, a charity fundraiser, who has cerebral palsy, has learned to adapt. With his keyboard out of production, he ploughs on with his existing kit:

H0pe u are all well! Fancy a pint and the f00ty 0n Friday night? We c0uld meet in a b00zer in the h00d 0r in t0wn?

Does this affect his ability to communicate? Well no – not with me but would I be as accommodating if the emails were about something other than beer and football? Probably not. I think most people would agree that the need for professional IT and digital skills – and the appropriate kit – are more important than ever for workers today.

Charities like U Can Do IT provide hundreds of disabled people with IT training enabling them to get into the workplace and Stoll (a client) offers a similar service aimed specifically at disabled Veterans with great results, including getting Veterans into civilian jobs.

These schemes and others like them are vital if the government’s benefits cap, which comes into force this week, has the effect of shifting more people into work.  Given the news on the state of personal finances (see BBC), this is going to be anything but easy. Most of us will be able to ride out the inflationary pressures of a falling pound. But higher costs coupled with reductions in benefits will be a bitter pill to swallow for many people on benefits.

In the meantime Dave is looking for work. So if you receive a CV with a surprising number of zeros sprawled across it, you will understand why.

James Ford, Partner, Barley Communications