Our Charitable Giving

“Every mickle makes a muckle”, they say up there in North Britain. Or to put it another way, small amounts can accumulate into something quite substantial - and so it has very definitely proved with our collecting for good causes.

If you’re not aware of this, our customers have the opportunity to add £1 to their order, in aid of a particular charity. We then match that and eventually the charity gets a nice cheque. Yesterday (1 November) I sent a donation to WaterAid: we’d been collecting your one pounds for a few months and ultimately they totalled £336. With an equal amount from The Cheese Shed that came to £672 - a very reasonable amount - so thanks to all of you who contributed.

I then totted up how much we’d given to various good causes since we started doing this about three years ago and was amazed that it came to over £7000. As of yesterday we’re collecting for the World Wildlife Fund, my knee-jerk response to their announcement earlier in the week that numbers of the world’s wild creatures are down 60% since 1970.

What are we doing to our world?

The WWF is active in many places doing its best to preserve the habitats which are needed to sustain wildlife. For humans it should be a moral question - that we make sure the natural world survives - but surely it’s self-preservation too? ‘No man is an island’, said the poet John Donne, and we - whatever illusions we may have - are not set apart from the natural world. We’re part of it. Damage it and we damage ourselves.

The WWF is also involved in helping to fight climate change, and of course very recently the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change released its truly scary 2018 report. It strikes me that as a species we are going to have to very seriously change the way we live … more growth, more consumerism and consumption (yes, I know, I’m a shopkeeper!), it just can’t go on, can it? In the very short term, though, what we can do is to help people who are working to make a difference.

Other charities we’ve collected for have ranged from the very small to the very big, and range across a number of different areas. Two were concerned with children and young people - The Helen Foundation and Farms For City Children - and two with the other end of the age spectrum. Many of us in middle life have parents at or near the end of life, so we helped Rowcroft Hospice (where my own father died) and NEDCare, a new, very small and very local organisation seeking to support older people in their own homes.

Housing is another bee that buzzes around my bonnet, so we raised money for Shelter and also Crisis. I heard about the work of The Prison Phoenix Trust from a friend who works in prisons. Thinking about prisons and prisoners will not always be popular but really if we want prisoners to come out and make a decent contribution to society … well, we’re going to have try a lot harder. As they stand, prisons could almost have been designed to guarantee re-offending.

And finally, War On Want, a great crusading charity that focuses on a number of areas I think are important. More power to all their collective elbows. And thank you for helping us to help them.

Ian Wellens