Community

Community

Food Bank 2

At the Watches of Switzerland Group, we are passionate about supporting the communities in which we operate. It is a vital cornerstone of our culture, based on our ingrained caring spirit and a dedication to giving back. We have long been committed to philanthropic endeavor, building strong partnerships with charities like The Prince’s Trust which spans a period of over 10 years. However, in 2021, we made things official, launching The Watches of Switzerland Group Foundation.

The Foundation brings most of the Group’s charitable activities under one umbrella and has so far received a total of £7.5 million in donations from the Watches of Switzerland Group to support three pillars: the prevention or relief of poverty; the advancement of education; and the relief of those in need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage. This focus has led us to confirm key strategic partners in both the UK and US to help us support the Foundation’s UNSDG goals and purpose pillars.

Princes Trust America
Community highlights
864
Total Number of Group Volunteering Hours
26,370
people able to "switch the lights back on"
30,000
people fed through feeding south florida
168,726
People fed through our support of UK foodbanks
3,000
helped through an education hub
£7.5m
donated from the watches of switzerland group to the Foundation

charities we support - PRINCE'S TRUST

The Prince’s Trust helps people aged 11 to 30 to build confidence, get a job or launch a business. It continues to be the Foundation’s key education partner, improving access to quality education in our communities. Since launching our partnership over ten years ago, 8,570 young people have been helped. This has been through a combination of education programmes over time such as the Young People Relief Fund and the launch of the Education Hub. Over the years, The Group has also sponsored the Young Changemaker Award at The Prince’s Trust Awards, and has acted as headline sponsor for the Palace to Palace Bike Ride.

Having previously supported the launch of The Prince’s Trust USA, the Foundation was delighted to fund the charity’s first Education Programme pilot in New York City, ‘The Enterprise Challenge’, in FY23. Following the success of the pilot, which supported 30 young people, the Foundation approved a further proposal in FY24 to continue the expansion of the programme supporting a total of 170 young people in the US. The programme runs in partnership with City Year, an education non-profit organisation, and is an inter-schools competition promoting entrepreneurship, and raising aspirations and confidence and the launch of the Education Hub. The final was judged by the Group’s President North America and Deputy CEO David Hurley.

This year to celebrate our 10th year in partnership, the Foundation increased its funding significantly with a donation of £750,000 across the UK and US. The Foundation became the first global partner for The Enterprise Challenge Programme – an interschool competition promoting entrepreneurship, raising aspirations and confidence. Colleagues got involved with the programme, from volunteering during the competition stage, to judging the regional finals. The final was judged by the Foundation’s Trustee David Gandy.

CRISIS

Crisis is a national UK charity for people experiencing homelessness. In 2021, the Foundation began its partnership with Crisis by  supporting the Crisis at Christmas campaign with an initial donation of £25,000, helping Crisis support over 500 guests with somewhere safe to stay over Christmas. The Foundation subsequently approved a proposal to support Crisis’ recruitment of clinical psychologists with the aim to end homelessness and increase social mobility. Crisis clinical psychologists provide intensive 1:1 specialist support to members, whilst supporting frontline staff. In FY23 and FY24, the Foundation has continued to support the Crisis at Christmas campaign, whilst focusing funding on case manager and lead worker salaries. Crisis’ services work holistically together; by supporting their core workers, we are directly helping Crisis to change lives and empower individuals to help create sustainable routes out of homelessness.

THE FUEL BANK FOUNDATION

The Fuel Bank Foundation was created to help people in fuel crisis by providing people with financial support and practical advice to get them back on their feet. In 2022, the Foundation launched its strategic partnership with the Fuel Bank Foundation to complement the food bank programme. Initially supporting 12 centres, the Foundation expanded its support to ten additional centres in FY23 and donated a further £300,000. 95% of those supported by the Fuel Bank Foundation reported having to choose between heating or eating this winter. The Foundation split its donation across FY23 and FY24 which has supported 26,370 (approximately 10,500 were children) people to turn their lights and/or heating ‘back on’. 91% of users reported being able to better cope financially, and 61% reported an improvement in mental wellbeing.

THE FOOD BANK PROGRAMME UK

The Foundation has enabled the food bank programme to have greater engagement and impact over the last year. In FY23, the Foundation’s flexible funding for food banks allowed its partners to expand their support in their local communities. Leicester South Food Bank were able to move to a new location which also acts as the Leicester distribution centre supporting 17 other food banks in the area, and Newcastle were able to open a mobile pantry to allow beneficiaries to move away from needing a food bank. Following the success of this, FY24 saw the Foundation develop its relationships further to provide more strategic funding that would support its food banks to develop projects they otherwise wouldn’t be able too. The donation to Kingston food bank has helped them to expand their Employment Worx service, a vital initiative empowering service users into the workforce and therefore moving away from needing emergency food provisions.

Beyond financial support, the Foundation has set up monthly calls with its network to keep up to date on trends, allow space for learning and to hear directly from its network what type of additional support is needed and challenges they might be facing. For example, food banks are increasingly needing to purchase food to be able to meet the emergency food needs in their communities. Out of the 11 UK food banks, six are reporting a spend of £5,000 - £30,000 per month on food alone. The monthly calls have allowed Leicester South to spearhead an initiative looking at reducing this spend through strategic partnerships with food retailers. In addition, the donation to Glasgow South East Food Bank provided 200 with food retailers. The Chair and Trustees have committed to supporting this project through their own networks outside of the donation from the Foundation. With the success of the food bank network calls, the Foundation has set up regular touch points for both UK and US partners, with the first call happening in June 2024. The Foundation supported households with £100 food vouchers at Christmas. These households were nominated by the food banks key referral agencies for those most in need. An additional 100 x £30 vouchers were also distributed to service users in the week leading up to Christmas.

THE FOOD BANK PROGRAMME US

Last year, the Foundation expanded its support of food banks to the US supporting Feeding South Florida, Three Square Meals (Las Vegas) and the New York Food Bank. The Foundation has connected colleagues with volunteering opportunities such as delivering meals to those in need. The initial donation to Feeding South Florida had significant impact to local communities in the region, supporting eight food banks across South Florida, and feeding nearly 30,000 people. The Foundation’s donation of $176,500 in Spring 2023 has allowed the charity to fund a school pantry, which provides emergency food for the school for a full 12 months as well as a culinary program with stipends for participants.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organisation that helps families build and improve places to call home. It believes that affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities. The charity works together with families, local communities, volunteers and partners from around the world so that more people are able to live in affordable and safe homes. In FY23, the Foundation donated $294,000 to sponsor three house builds for families in Miami, Atlanta and Westchester – with colleagues supporting a further two  house builds through volunteering in FY24. The Foundation are hoping to strengthen its partnership with Habitat for Humanity over the next year by providing more volunteers and vital funding through the Foundation to provide safe homes for those who need them.

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