SKQ Issue 16 The Good Causes Edition

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issue 16 T H E G O O D C A U S E S E D I T I O N

Welcome to issue 16 T H E




Welcome to the final issue of SKQ for 2023 and to close the year, we’re focusing on good causes and how acts of kindness and compassion can go a very long way when people are living in poverty. We wanted to take a moment here to celebrate the people making a difference every day. We have all read and heard the news, we know how many people are suffering, often at the hands of others. Here we’re shining a light on those people who are working tirelessly to try and make people’s lives that little bit easier, when things really have hit rock bottom. We hear from Rachel Woolf, founder and CEO of Street Storage, a charity that provides safe, free storage to those who find themselves homeless or living on the street and just how important this service is. Peter and Winnie Baffoe of the South London Mission tell us about how they provide meal kits to families in desperate need – not only giving them a meal, but an opportunity to come together as a family and share in the joy of cooking. We also have a quick Q&A with Matt Edgely at Light Project in Peterborough (just down the road from where I live) that talks about the work they do to help those living on the street get back on their feet. SK’s Kunle Olafare shows us all how just one hour of your time can make a huge difference to how young people see the world, while Richard Simmonds writes about how best to use your money to support these charities, empowering you to get involved. We hope you will find hope and inspiration here and take that into 2024 with you. As always, the SK Team is here for you.

Jenny Editor We encourage you to share our magazine with those you think may find it useful. If you have any feedback or would like to contribute to our next issue of SKQ, send Jenny an email at

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Contents 04 Outlook from Kunle 06 Street Storage 08 In conversation with...Matt Edgley, Light Project Peterborough 10 Gifting to charity benefits in more ways than one 12 BRITE Box 15 SK Recommends SKQ issue 16 | 3


From Kunle

A little goes a long way As a number of you may know, I

What always strikes me is the resilience of the young

spend time in a variety of schools

people I meet. They want a better life and are

and charities helping younger

prepared to invest time in their education and personal development to help achieve a better future

people with career advice and life

- a paid job, a career, doing a purposeful role. But

skills, providing the time to listen

there are often significant hurdles that they have to

and help “my younger self”.

overcome. I am aware of many of our clients that are involved in a variety of charity and community projects. For those of you that have the time, would you be interested in helping youngsters with their career outcomes? If so, take a look at The 1 Hour Project.

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OUTLOOK Could you give an hour? The 1 Hour Project is a not for profit organisation

the confidence to recognise the value of their

aiming to match students from low income

experiences and their strengths. And that’s where the 1

backgrounds with experienced individuals to help

Hour Project comes in.

provide career insights. They ask for just one hour of your time. That one hour can make a world of

The 1 Hour Project offers a “Vouched For” feature

difference to a youngster's life.

where the student has to think of three strengths. They are then asked who has seen them demonstrate those

How often have you come across this phrase: “We

strengths and for the names of two people who can

would like to offer you the role but because you don’t

confirm them. From here, the 1 Hour Project team work

have the practical experience, we chose someone

with the the students to match them with one of their

else”….which leads to the frustration of “how can I get the experience, if you don’t give me a chance?!” To compound the issue, students tend to focus on their weaknesses and not on their strengths. They discount their experiences, “I only worked at the local supermarket” or “I did a bit of part time work cleaning to help with the household bills” and they dismiss this, believing it doesn’t matter, that it won’t count. We need to change this mindset, we need to give them

career choices. To find out more about the 1 Hour Project, please go to: I wish you and all those that matter to you an enjoyable festive holiday and my best wishes for your 2024.

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STREET STORAGE AN INNOVATIVE CHARITY TACKLING THE HOMELESSNESS CRISIS IN A UNIQUE AND VITAL WAY Rachel Woolf, Street Storage Founder If you had to leave your home today with one suitcase, what would you keep, what would you sell and what would you be forced to throw away? Daily, the 271,000 people experiencing or facing some form of homelessness in the UK have to make this impossible decision. That's families, people fleeing violence, refugees, those going into or coming out of prison and those actively sleeping on our streets - to name just a few. How can you be expected to hold down a job, attend support services, re-engage with education, reconnect with family, complete rehabilitation or secure housing, if you are made to carry everything you own with you at all times? How can you sleep safely, go to a library or a cafe, feel like a 'normal' human being or be free from everyone's judgement, if you have your home on your back? You can't.

The difference safe storage can make Homelessness is a multi-million pound 'industry' in the UK and yet Street Storage is (still) the only charity in the country providing free, safe and accessible storage to people experiencing homelessness in its own right. We recently arranged to store some things for a woman who had to flee her home due to domestic abuse. She is staying safely with family until suitable accommodation is found for her, but she’s afraid that her partner will

go back to her property whilst it's empty and destroy her belongings. Because of this, she has been putting herself at risk by checking her things a couple of times a week. Having her most important items stored with us will stop her visiting the property, keeping her safe and giving her peace of mind. Making people feel valued and seen As a charity, we run manned storage units out of free or low cost rental space in London and are replicating this across the UK in 2024, with three cities already in the pipeline. We enable people to sleep safely, live without prejudice and secure housing and employment. We make sure people feel valued and seen. In respecting their treasured possessions, we respect who they are as people and respect the life they live. One man who uses Street Storage is currently starting up as a self-employed worker. He clears rooms, so if you’re having your kitchen refitted he will clear out everything and have it prepped ready for the fitting. He is currently sleeping out in a tent but is hoping that once he increases the amount of work he gets, he'll be able to start renting. He’s stored some work tools with us which he picks up when he has a job on and then drops back with us when the job is done. We’re keeping his tools safe for him and helping him to move forward. We’re all human after all The big issue now is just how many people find themselves in situations like this. In the past 12 months, as the direct result of the Refugee Crisis and the Cost of Living Crisis and in the aftermath of the pandemic and

BREXIT - we have seen a 318% increase in referrals. Many more people are coming to us who are working full time or part time and living in their cars or in temporary refuges or hostels. We see at least 15 referrals a week from people being evicted without reason through Section 21 eviction notices and are currently storing for over 260 people (although, in any given year we store for and support approximately 350). We continue to provide a volunteer-led collection and drop off transport service for people's things and extensive and intensive one to one advocacy work to those who need it. A young 17 year old, non-binary person came to us after being asked to leave their family home. They are currently staying in a young person's hub in Islington and their worker explained how afraid and anxious they are at the moment. Their belongings were in the old property but they would be unable to store all their belongings at the youth hub. We were able to help them to work out what they were able to have with them and what to store with us. We worked around their college timetable and were able to reassure them and put them at ease. We then arranged a taxi to take them and the rest of their bags back to the hub. As we come to the end of 2023, the socio-economic climate is making our work nigh on impossible, both for those experiencing poverty and the staff working tirelessly to try to alleviate it. Find out more about how you can support us and get involved by following us on social media or via our website However, the most important way you can support our work and those struggling is to acknowledge people as people - simply smile or say hello when you encounter someone in need. We’re all human after all. SKQ issue 16 | 7





In conversation with... Matt Edgley from the charity, Light Project Peterborough, who help those living on the streets get their lives back on track. Jimmy recalls “On the first day [at Light Project Peterborough’s Garden House], I was a state; I was shaking and crying. It was Teresa [Project Worker] who greeted me. She sat with me and calmed me down.” Since coming to us, Jimmy has regained his confidence and got the “kick up the backside” he needed to turn his life around. He was added to the housing list and has taken online courses to help him to find a job.

Matt Edgley (ME): Here’s Jimmy’s story that shows the work we do

“I like coming to The Garden House as it means I’m not sat alone, I’m communicating with people, I’m not lonely or feeling depressed. Everyone here has been a big help. I’ve been able to sort out child maintenance and a mediation centre, so I can get my kids back into my life. In such a short space of time, my whole life has changed from being depressed, lonely and crying to now feeling happy and walking out every day with a smile on my face.”

Jimmy was living in Lincolnshire with his parents, but due to a family breakdown, he came to Peterborough as he knew a few people and had a small support circle. Despite this, he quickly found himself living on the streets and was referred to us by the city council as he hadn’t eaten for two days.

He concludes “Coming to The Garden House has been the best decision I have made in a very long time.” Jimmy has now secured employment and moved into his own permanent accommodation.

Matt Edgley

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SKQ: Please tell as a little bit about the work you do with the homeless. ME: Here at Light Project Peterborough, we aim to be a truly

city-focused, city-change charity by providing projects such as The Garden House, amongst others. The Garden House is Peterborough’s homeless hub and is the first step for anyone who is sleeping on the streets in Peterborough and needing support. People sleeping rough can come to The Garden House for food and drink, information and advice, as well as access to a wide range of support services. At least one new person comes through our doors every day seeking support. To provide the help they require, we have linked up with service providers in Peterborough including City Council housing officers, GPs, employment agencies, alcohol and drugs support specialists, mental health teams, Police, hairdressers and chiropodists. SKQ: Can you tell us a bit more about why and how people end up homeless. ME: Some people come to us after having family arguments,

like Jimmy, being kicked out of their home, having addiction and debt issues, problems with their health and some after losing their jobs. While others are fleeing from modern day slavery, cuckooing or domestic violence. Sometimes people come to us due to several of these happening all at once which really can turn someone’s life upside down. It’s important to realise that people can become homeless abruptly and without warning. There’s a different story behind each person who comes to The Garden House and understanding this helps us to provide the best form of support. SKQ: What are the biggest barriers to getting people the help that they need and keeping them off the street? ME: Eligibility for support is a major issue that people often

overlook. Before a homeless person can receive support such as benefits or housing assistance, they need to have lived in the UK for at least five years. Sometimes this can be difficult to prove for people who are not originally from the UK. Another barrier before being given accommodation by the council is whether the person has a local connection in the area. You have a local connection if you've lived in a council area for at least six out of the last 12 months or three out of the last five years. Issues with physical health cause many barriers for people as they can’t access the right medical support and may not be able to pay for the medication they need. They may struggle to live on their own and therefore living on the streets but with people they know can feel like an easier option. For some, they need help with their mental health as they can get accustomed to living on the streets and find it difficult to move into accommodation and the responsibility of looking after

their room. Also, having somewhere safe to stay in doesn’t automatically mean you no longer need support and we have continued helping people even after they’ve secured accommodation. And there is of course addiction. Some people become addicted to alcohol or drugs, and it can dominate their lives. It becomes their number one priority over anything else, including having somewhere safe and secure to live. This is why we facilitate support through having services such as Aspire and Alcoholics Anonymous at The Garden House. SKQ: What is the most rewarding part of what you do as a charity? ME: We enjoy being able to empower people to flourish again

in their lives. Seeing people progress along their journey and getting to a better place brings a lot of joy and satisfaction. It’s also heart-warming to see some of those who we have helped, wanting to give something back by offering to volunteer with us. We are particularly proud to have one of the first people we helped becoming a member of our Board of Trustees. SKQ: And what are the most useful things people can do to help? ME: Like all charities, financial donations help us to continue

the work we do. Thanks to supportive philanthropists, we have been able to develop and sustain ourselves since we first became a registered charity in 2015. Regular donors also help us to financially plan ahead so we’re not only thinking about today but tomorrow as well. We have big aspirations to keep growing as a charity and to be well equipped to meet the needs of the city in the future. We’ve also just launched our Big Sleep Out event with the Posh Foundation which will take place on Friday 8th March 2024 at Peterborough United’s football stadium. This event will give participants an insight into what homeless people experience every night. There are only 100 spaces available, but you can also take part virtually by sleeping out in your garden or on your sofa for a night. Alternatively, you can ask your local school or workplace whether they'd be willing to host a sleepout. For more information and to sign up, visit:

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As advisers, we always encourage people to think in terms of ‘required spend’ and ‘discretionary or desirable spend’. For most people, charitable donations won’t fall into ‘required spend’. But there’s a case to say that maybe they should. By Richard Simmonds. When done well, gifting to charity is of course an opportunity to make a real difference, but it also makes sound financial sense – it is genuinely a win all round. How often do you get say that? Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to tell anyone how much they should give to charity or indeed, that they should at all. That is a very personal choice. I’m here to highlight the financial advantages of giving to charity that are well worth a closer look, even when things feel uncertain. The biggest benefit is that all gifts to charities are exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT). This means that you can essentially extend the amount of money that will be IHT-free, by either leaving money to charity in your Will or making regular donations.

The gift that keeps on giving

From a tax efficiency perspective alone, charitable

It goes without saying that using Gift Aid remains a highly tax efficient means of gifting to charity. If you’re a higher-rate taxpayer, you can claim back the difference between the tax you’ve paid on the donation and what the charity got back, when you fill in your tax return. It’s the same if you live in Scotland. You can do this either through your Self-Assessment tax return, or by contacting HMRC and asking them to amend your tax code. To explain, if you were to donate £100 to charity - they claim the 20% Gift Aid to make your donation £125, you pay 40% tax so you can personally claim back £25.00 (£125 x 20%).

donations should be very much on your radar. Importantly, though, you need to check your chosen charity is UK registered, otherwise donations won’t benefit from the available tax breaks. A generous donation can reduce IHT from 40% to 36% There’s no getting away from the fact that there is a finite amount of money that is protected from IHT.

charitable donations

Making regular gifts out of surplus income can also be effective from an IHT point of view and it may feel easier to take this approach over leaving a set amount in your Will. When you have a clear understanding of how much money you need to live the life you want (something we can help with), you will be able to see how much you can comfortably afford to give to charity at different points in your life. And if recent years have taught us anything, this may change year on year, but this approach gives you the power to tweak things accordingly. Every time you make a donation, you are reducing your exposure to IHT in the future. Yes, you need to keep the paperwork and be able to show the paper trail, but it is well worth the effort from an IHT perspective.

The rest will be liable to be taxed at 40%. How much this will be depends on a number of things, your marital status, the value of your property, how you plan to share your wealth with your family and others. By leaving a donation to your chosen charity or charities in your Will, you will increase the amount of your money that is protected from IHT and it will be spent on something you believe in. Leaving a charitable legacy in your Will of at least 10% of your total estate will reduce the rate payable on the remainder of the estate from 40% to 36%. This can make a huge difference to the amount of IHT paid on your estate by your loved ones.

The key to getting this right however, is to do your homework on the charities you want to support in this way or in your Will. It may be a cause that you believe strongly in, but take a closer look at how they use their funding and how efficient they are with their donations. Larger, big name charities have often come under pressure here (and been exposed in other ways). As a result, you may want to choose a grassroots charity where your money may not be spread as widely, but you perhaps feel more of your money will get to the people who need it most. I will just reiterate however that the charity must be UK registered to benefit from the tax breaks. SKQ issue 16 | 11

THE MEAL KIT THAT IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST FOOD by Peter and Winnie Baffoe, South London Mission It's hard to believe that in the 21st century and in a country like Great Britain, we still have a significant number of people who suffer from food insecurity. In response to this, we set up the BRITE Box initiative in our local borough in South East London. BRITE stands for Building Resilience in Today’s Environment and is a meal kit designed for children and their families. It provides a recipe and all the ingredients you need to prepare a delicious meal for five people and can be recreated for less than £5.00. In recognition of wide spread deep poverty in our borough, Southwark Council currently provides free school meals to all primary school pupils. To support this, we now deliver BRITE boxes to four schools in Southwark to ensure children can have at least one meal over the weekend. Without the meal kit, many children would go without.

“Childhood is not a dress rehearsal for life, but is life itself” The project is funded by Anjuna, a local record company and we also receive donations from The Haberdasher’s Company and Childhood Trust. For the meal kits, we’re committed to sourcing the best produce we can childhood is not a dress rehearsal for life, but is life itself and must be lived to its fullest. That is why we work with a local grocer based at the world-famous Borough Market for all our fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as with Bells Butchers, a local family run business based in the heart of Bermondsey for our meat and poultry. BRITE Box helps to spark joy and interest in cooking and eating well and teaches children new and improved cooking skills as well as the confidence to use them. But the BRITE Box itself is more than just food. We often use the phrase ‘the box that keeps on giving’ as what appears as a simple cooking task can bring about so many additional benefits like communication, fun and laughter as well as a good hearty meal. Hopefully, these

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will be strong life long memories for the families that participate for years to come

“It had become a bonding experience for them both” One story that stands out is that of a dad and daughter where the mother had recently passed away from cancer. The father shared how they had both been struggling with the tragedy and he found it difficult to communicate with his daughter at times. Through participation in the BRITE Box project they found it became a bonding experience for them both. It helped to stimulate conversation as they were working together and supported each other as they processed their grief. The recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights the shocking levels of destitution in the UK and identifies London as the area of highest deprivation. For us working at the South London Mission, the confirmation of this fact comes sadly as no surprise. In the past five years, we have seen a year on year increase in the numbers of people using our various services whether that be accessing the food bank or seeking accommodation in our hostel.

“Food insecurity is our window into understanding the manacles of poverty” What has been most disconcerting in recent years is how many of our community are in work and still need support due to the high cost of living. Despite London being one of the wealthiest cities in the world, those in closest physical proximity to it are perversely in some ways the farthest away from ever being able to access it. Food insecurity is our window into understanding the manacles of poverty that restrict the wellbeing and

development of households. At the South London Mission, our pantry reveals a design of poverty where 99% of our guests are women, and mostly from Black and ethnic groups, with 100% of those of working age employed but low paid. The design is informed by the absence of regulation in the costs of private childcare between ages 0-3, which binds women into homemaking or part time low paid professions, consequently the impact of inflation hits them most and for extended periods.

“When in plain sight, they are invisible” Our guests however are dynamic women who speak proudly of their commitment to employment, which takes place in the twilight hours of dawn and dusk, where they are the first and last into our offices as they maintain our grand facilities. When in plain sight, they are invisible in our places of hospitality or as assistants in schools, but add great value to our wellbeing and social value.

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Legislation, which has reduced social and affordable housing, has informed the problem of overcrowding, which impacts the physical and mental health of households, creating systemic social costs.

“We work towards a space everyone has the opportunity to flourish” This is why at the South London Mission we use our 3Rs as the values to underpin our goal of systems change. The 3Rs stand for Respite, taking care of the immediate SKQ issue 16 | 14

need. This may be food, shelter, clothing or even loneliness. The second R stands for Regeneration, where, through long term relationship building we can support people into independence. The final R is for Revolution and speaks to how we use data and evidence from our interaction to inform decision makers and bring about real systemic change. The South London Mission recognises that it will be near impossible to wholly eliminate poverty in our lifetimes but we try our best to mitigate it’s impact on those who experience it and provide pathways for both the individual and society as a whole to work towards a space everyone has the opportunity to flourish.


SK RECOMMENDS… Inspiring and uplifting books to put on your Christmas list Tuesdays with Morrie

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

by Mitch Albom Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague? Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it? Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you? Mitch Albom had that second chance.

by Christy Lefteri This is a beautifully written story of one couple’s journey from Syria to the refugee camps of Europe. As they travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all, they must journey to find each other again. The story gives you an understanding of what it means to be just an ordinary person caught up in terrible events, but human spirit and resilience ultimately shine through.



by Bryce Courteney This is a story about a boy, Tom, from an orphanage in South Africa in 1939 who is ostracised, marking him as an outsider. And so begin some of life's tougher lessons for the small lonely boy. Like the whitethorn, one of Africa's most enduring plants, Tom learns how to survive in the harsh climate of racial hatred. Then a terrible event sends him on a journey to ensure that justice is done. On the way, his most unexpected discovery is love.

by Mark Johnson With searing honesty, WASTED documents Mark's descent into the depths of addiction and criminality. Homeless, hooked on heroin and crack, no one - least of all Mark believed he would survive. And yet astonishingly - he somehow pulled himself through, and now runs his own thriving tree surgery business, employing and helping other recovering addicts. His story is at once shocking and inspiring - a compelling account of his struggle to save himself, and help save others in the process. SKQ issue 16 | 15

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” WINSTON CHURCHILL The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances. Your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it. This document is distributed for information purposes and should not be considered investment or other advice or an offer of any product / security for sale. This document contains the opinions of the authors but not necessarily the firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. Please contact us before you transact. Errors and omissions excepted.

SKF Trading Ltd trading as SK Financial. SK Financial is directly authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority.

SKQ issue 16

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