On Make it Matter Day, Marks & Spencer has launched a ground-breaking commitment to support 1,000 communities across the UK, help 10 million people live happier, healthier lives and be a zero waste business. This will see M&S colleagues dedicating one million hours of community volunteering by 2025, to support local initiatives and projects that really matter in the communities that M&S serves.
M&S will kick start the volunteering in Yorkshire during Volunteers Week (1-7 June) by partnering with the Harrogate Women’s Refuge, which was set up to help vulnerable women and their children. Part of the Independent Domestic Abuse Service (IDAS), the North Yorkshire charity offers emergency accommodation and support to local people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Colleagues from M&S in Knaresborough will be rolling up their sleeves and embarking on a three-day project to revamp the children’s soft play area, the teenage reflection room and centre interview room, to provide modern and vibrant facilities. By improving the centre surroundings, the M&S volunteers hope to create a more inspiring and welcoming environment for those that use it.
The charity is already well known to M&S Knaresborough, as it regularly receives surplus food from the store, particularly during times of celebration like Easter and Christmas, when families might otherwise be going without. Rob Coffnel, the store’s Commercial Manager, also knows first-hand what a worthy cause the charity is – his wife is a social worker at the Refuge, and interacts with residents on a daily basis.
Andrea Harrison, Harrogate Woman’s Refuge, commented: We are delighted to have the help and support from our friends at M&S, which will enable us to carry out the long overdue work to revamp our centre. This is home for so many vulnerable women and children, and being able to provide comfortable and welcoming surroundings has a hugely positive impact. We are very grateful to M&S for its continued support, and would like to say a huge thank you to the team involved for their support in our community.
Nationwide, employees in every M&S store will join their colleagues in North Yorkshire during National Volunteers Week by helping to transform local projects that make a real difference. In total, over 7,000 colleagues will support 700 community projects across the breadth of the UK. Make it Matter is part of the recently launched M&S campaign ‘#SpenditWell’, which is about inspiring people to make every moment special by focusing on the experiences, people and things that really matter in life. All 80,000 M&S employees are supported with paid volunteering days.
Rob Coffnel, Commercial Manager at M&S Knaresborough: We’re really excited to be coming together to support Harrogate Women’s refuge – a charity which is very close to my heart. Volunteering can make a profound difference to the communities in which we live and work – we believe that lots of the small actions from lots of people, can collectively have a huge impact. We can’t wait to get started.
Kristen Stephenson, Volunteering Development Manager, National Council of Voluntary Organisations commented: A lack of time is the number one barrier to volunteering and so it’s great to see businesses like M&S supporting staff with time off to make a difference to causes that matter to their local communities.
“Volunteers make a huge difference around the country, whether it’s running sports clubs, saving lives, looking after our heritage or supporting those in need, the UK’s volunteers are an inspiration and it’s important we recognise their work.
Volunteers’ Week is always a fantastic opportunity to say thank you to the millions of people who make a difference in our communities.
Volunteering in Numbers
- 41% of people in Yorkshire volunteer at least once a month
- 63% of people in Yorkshire volunteer at least once a year
- 16-25 year olds are more likely to volunteer (44%)
- 50-64 year olds volunteer the least (29%)
You can find out more about volunteer opportunities near you by visiting
- Royal Voluntary Service: https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/
- National Volunteers Week: http://volunteersweek.org/
For more information on Plan A, visit www.marksandspencer.com/s/making-a-difference