Marks & Spencer employees have a long track record of supporting their local community through fundraising and volunteering. This year, the company launched Spark Something Good™, a new way for M&S and their customers to get out there and make a difference. The aim is to inspire millions of customers to get more involved in their local area. A newly created Spark Something Good website www.marksandspencer.com/getinvolved has been developed in partnership with the social network for social good, Neighbourly.com. The site shows the local fundraising and volunteering opportunities that every one of M&S’ owned stores is involved in. Every store has chosen a Local Charity of the Year to fundraise for, meaning customers who can’t volunteer time or skills have the opportunity to make a difference in the community through donations in store.
Spark Something Good kicked off in London on 29th July, 2015 with Joanna Lumley and Marks & Spencer CEO, supporting 24 projects over 24 hours in London. Spark Something Good then moved to Dublin which was the first real pilot in terms of engaging customers and involving a wider range of community groups. Dublin was chosen due to the strong community spirit among staff and customers in Dublin and the capability of partners like Business in the Community Ireland, Dublin City Council and neighbourly.com to help connect with community projects. Despite the planning happening through the busy summer holiday period, 24 diverse community projects were identified, project teams mobilized and a social media volunteer recruitment campaign launched. In just 7 days in September 2015, 280 volunteers planted 8 gardens, refurbished 17 rooms in community buildings and transformed a school playground with colourful murals. They also collected over 30 bags of rubbish from city canals and streets, supported 20 people with employability training and systematically overhauled a warehouse, a soup kitchen and a charity shop. Not to mention, helping to serve hundreds of cups of coffee and undertaking a very special makeover of the entire performance hall of the world famous Artane Band, just in time for a final rehearsal before the All Ireland Final!
Watch the video about the Artane Band project: a complete renovation of the performance hall.