Earlier this month, FSC team members rolled up their sleeves and took to the streets of London to get behind the ‘Fill A Flask’ campaign, run by charity Only A Pavement Away, writes Cathy Murray. The campaign involves distributing reusable flasks of chilled water to rough sleepers to help them stay hydrated, whilst sparing the use of thousands of plastic water bottles this summer.
One of our key agency objectives is to ensure that every team member has the opportunity to volunteer one day of their time every year to help make a difference in our local communities. And, with our specialism in the hospitality sector, we felt it was particularly important to support this worthwhile activity.
Only A Pavement Away is a fantastic charity, set up by Greg and Gill Mangham, which aims to help homeless people, veterans and ex-offenders get back into work in the hospitality industry. They refuse to accept that all people who are homeless are in this situation due to some form of abuse or addiction.
At the same time, there is increasing realisation that the hospitality industry needs to employ a large number of people to meet future skills shortages. So, it seems only sensible to marry the need for new recruits with those who, with the right opportunity, would be able to get their lives back on track, particularly when the combined average cost to society of supporting a rough sleeper is £20,000.
‘Fill a Flask’ was an incredibly eye opening experience for everyone involved. As someone who has lived in London for most of their adult life, I am obviously aware of how big a problem rough sleeping is in the city, but previously I haven’t done much more than buy the Big Issue and offer some spare change on the odd occasion. To spend the day walking the streets, handing out flasks and explaining how Only A Pavement Away can help vulnerable people get back into meaningful employment was a very humbling experience.
On the day, teams across London handed out 500 reusable flasks either to a rough sleeper, or to a member if the public to fill and give to a rough sleeper. Later this summer, the campaign will be repeated in Brighton, Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool and Newcastle, and it is hoped that 6,000 thermal flasks will then be in circulation across the UK.
For more information on Only A Pavement Away and to understand how you can help, visit https://onlyapavementaway.co.uk/donate