Teaming up with Smarter Giving

Jen Harris

In a society obsessed with how they are going to afford the latest ‘it’ product, it can be difficult to remember that amongst the glitz and glamour of London there are those that struggle to feed themselves and their families.

Smarter Giving is a local organisation that supports companies in the area to get off their bums, tear their eyes away from Excel and look at the bigger picture. So that’s exactly what 27 of us did, making us the largest group that Smarter Giving has seen. We hadn’t even started and had already broken a record – go Team MG OMD!

Throughout London, amidst the townhouses of the super-rich, lie areas of low-income families and just a stone’s throw from Baker Street was where was chosen for our day of hard graft. Being split into two groups, half of us were given the task of moving unused allotment beds (Team Green Fingers) and the others sanding down and repainting a rusty, prominently placed fence (The Two Coat Club).

Team Green Fingers

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The Two Coat Club

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These raised allotments are in great demand and by moving them closer to the residents it enables them to save money and have a sustainable way to feed their families. However, this was no walk in the park for Team Green Fingers. They were faced with white-knuckle thrill rides in soil filled trucks driven by adrenalin pumped estate workers, carrying timber beams, shovelling and wheelbarrowing dirt, and finally stapling plastic into the timber using a desk stapler – only the best of tools for us!

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Meanwhile The Two Coat Club were a hop, skip and a jump away sanding and painting 50 feet of rusty railings along a main road. Piece of cake I hear you say?  This group had to tackle wasp nests, spiders that had emigrated from Australia as well as clambering through the area’s thickest bushes to get to those ‘hard to reach’ areas – we are real bunch of perfectionists. Our painting skills had an enormous domino effect and we ended up with no less than five independent residents offering their help. As a result Smarter Giving is looking to create a regular ‘Residents Day’ to improve the area for the wider community.

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Both MG OMD and Smarter Giving have had fantastic feedback, it clearly made a huge impact on the Estate with many coming up throughout the day to personally thank us for our efforts. As a group we outdid all expectations, completing more work than was anticipated and somehow managed to inspire other residents to get involved, meaning we left a long-term impact.

In a nutshell, we had a fantastic day with loads of laughs, got more than a little dirty, all whilst giving back to our local area. We can’t wait for the next time!