A-Z Guide of Socially Conscious Businesses & Grass Roots Charities (UK)

socially conscious**Here is my A-Z guide of socially conscious businesses and grass roots UK charities. Hopefully it’ll come in handy for you at some point – click on the bolded text for more details. This is not a sponsored post.

A is for Action on Addiction. This national charity offers high quality, effective residential rehab and community based addiction treatment. Action on Addiction have been providing life-saving treatment for sufferers of addiction for 35 years. They have residential and day treatment programmes for addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling and other behaviours. Action on Addiction brings help, hope and freedom to addiction sufferers, and their families.

B is for Best Beginnings. Founded in 2006, Best Beginnings wasted no time in establishing themselves. Within four weeks, they formed and led a coalition to lobby for the implementation of the Breastfeeding Manifesto. Since then, Best Beginnings have worked tirelessly to reduce inequalities in child health to give every child in the UK the best start. Working closely with parents, leading healthcare professionals and other charities, they have created innovative evidence-based resources which are changing lives every day.

C is for Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). Did you know that suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45? CALM uses young men’s peers, voices and interests to reach them in times of crisis. CALM believe that there is a cultural barrier preventing men from seeking help, and it’s seen as weakness and a loss of masculinity. They believe if men felt able to ask for and find help when they need it, hundreds of male suicides could be prevented.

D is for The Dock Cafe, Belfast. Run by teams of volunteers, The Dock Cafe serves award-winning locally sourced Sukí teas, freshly ground Dock blend and guest coffees, tasty soups, scones and bakes. They have plenty of space to relax, comfy sofas and free wi-fi. The Dock Cafe is unique, because there is no price list. Instead, they have an honesty box and allow their customers to pay what they choose.

E is for Ethical Superstore. By striving to protect our planet, Ethical Superstore find eco-friendly alternatives to everyday items – including food, cosmetics and cleaners – which do as little harm to the environment as possible. They are helping farmers and small businesses by guaranteeing fair prices at every stage of the supply chain. No-one gets exploited in the production process, and fair prices help to alleviate poverty. They also provide a platform to UK based brands, which means selling products that have been made right here in Britain, utilising local resources and cutting carbon emissions by not importing.

F is for Figtree Clothing. Ethical fashion and natural non-toxic toiletries do not get better than this! Founded by mum of three Rebecca, through desperately trying to lessen her own environmental impact on the world, she shares her journey to zero waste in real time. In her own words: “I wanted to create a trusted brand that others could buy from guilt free. I do the research so you don’t have to.”

G is for Goodness Gracious Gift. Founder Kat aims to put the good back into goodness. Working with brands that are spiritual, vegan, cruelty-free and ethical, she has sourced perfect products to create her Goodness Gracious Gift Boxes. There is a page on the website for each item to make it easy to read ingredients labels, and be safe in the knowledge that the items haven’t been tested on animals.

H is for The Hygiene Bank. Did you know that long before people turn to food banks, they stop using hygiene products? Think about that for one second. “Clean teeth, hair and body shouldn’t be a privilege. These things impact our self-esteem, our self-confidence and our dignity.” Says Lizzy Hall, founder of The Hygiene Bank. Will you support their #itsinthebag campaign this Christmas?

I is for Inspirational Youth. Their vision is to create a community where young people and adults unlock their infinite potential through self awareness, evolution and empathy. Inspirational Youth’s mission is to empower individuals to make meaningful decisions, which create a safe and respectful environment for maximum growth. Through delivering NEET (not in education, employment or training) prevention programmes in schools, Inspirational Youth have a proven track record. They improve behaviour, attitude to learning, attendance and academic attainment. Their proprietary method uses unique game based scenarios which engage young people. These games raise self-awareness and resilience, and lead to a more successful school environment – for both teachers and students.

J is for (The Real) Junk Food Project. Food waste is a big deal to me. Partly through experiencing poverty as a child, partly through seeing extreme poverty while travelling and living in Asia. With hunger being as real as it is, here in the UK, food wastage is absolutely abhorrent. There is no need for it, especially when it can be so easily avoided. The Real Junk Food Project intercepts food which would have gone to landfill, and redistributes it through a network of Pay As You Feel Sharehouses, cafes and school partnerships.

K is for Keep Britain Tidy and Keep Wales Tidy. In 1954 The National Federation of Women’s Institutes passed a resolution to “Keep Britain Tidy”, and this charity have been working hard to do so ever since. Over 374,000 people took part in The Great British Spring Clean 2018, during 13,500 country wide events. Why not get involved in their current #LitterHeroes campaign?

L is for Little Princess Trust. This hair donation service provides wigs free of charge to children and young adults (up to 24) who have lost their own hair due to cancer treatment and other illnesses. If you have good condition hair, and are willing to chop 17-30cm off, you can donate your ponytail to this wonderful cause. Take a look at this video for more details.

M is for Mind. One in four of us experience mental health problems, yet hundreds of thousands of people are still struggling. Mind believe that no-one should have to face their mental health issues alone. They listen and offer support and advice, to empower those struggling with their mental health. Mind campaign tirelessly to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

N is for The National Autistic Society (NAS). Founded in 1962, The NAS is the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families. Their goal is to help transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people. They currently help over 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.

O is for Oasis Wandsworth. Founded in 1989, Wandsworth Oasis provides support to those living with HIV. They also challenge the stigma surrounding the illness. Their nine south London charity shops generate revenue, along with fundraising events. In the last ten years alone they have given over £350,000 in grants, to HIV-related projects.

P is for Prevent Suicide. This Brighton based charity has a simple powerful goal: for no-one to contemplate suicide alone. Working locally and nationally with communities, organisations and individuals, they support people at risk of suicide. Their training and consultancy helps save lives by enabling conversations which make a difference.

Q is for Queen Alexandra Hospital Home for Veterans. (I’ve cheated here, as they recently changed their name to Care for Veterans.) The facility in Worthing, West Sussex was established in 1919, in order to care for soldiers who were returning from World War I with life-changing disabilities. They provide long term nursing care, rehabilitation, respite and end of life care to ex-Service(wo)men from the RAF, Army, Royal Navy and auxiliary services. They accept residents aged 18 and over and have sixty beds. Anyone who has served in HM Forces at any time or in any capacity, and also immediate family members of someone who has served in HM Forces, is eligible for admission. Their multi-disciplinary approach towards care and rehabilitation includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and neuropsychology, as well as social and recreational activities and a chaplaincy service.

R is for Refuge. Since opening the world’s first safe house for women and children escaping domestic violence in 1971, Refuge has led the campaign against domestic violence. They have grown to become the UK’s largest provider of specialist domestic and gender-based violence services. Refuge support over 6,000 women and children on any given day.

S is for St. Raphael’s Hospice. Charity shops dotted around the London boroughs of Sutton and Merton raise vital funds for St. Raphael’s hospices. Although their philosophy and values are based on the Christian ethos of respect for human life, they welcome, respect and support patients and staff of any or no faith. Aiming to meet the needs – physical, emotional, spiritual and social – of patients, as well as their families and friends. Bereavement support is also offered for those who might find it helpful.

T is for Trussell Trust. Did you know that over 14 million people live in poverty here in the UK? Absolutely shocking numbers, ones our government should be truly ashamed of. The Trussell Trust was Founded in 1997 by Carol and Paddy Henderson, based on Carol’s mother Betty Trussell’s legacy. They now support over 420 foodbanks, working out of more than 1,200 foodbank centres. Trussell Trust provide emergency food and support to hundreds of thousands of people in crisis in the UK.

View this post on Instagram

#charity #getinvolved #foodbanks #spreadtheword #instagood

A post shared by The Trussell Trust (@trusselltrust) on

U is for UK Youth. UK Youth are committed to providing access to high quality services in every community. To ensure that young people are empowered to build bright futures, regardless of their background or circumstances.

V is for Vale Wildlife Hospital. With our wildlife facing more problems than ever before, this Gloucestershire based wildlife hospital are determined to treat all casualties. They help animals who have sustained injuries through an endless list of possibilities including road accidents; being attacked by other animals; fence injuries; mower and strimmer incidents; habitat loss and building work.

W is for Warehouse Cafe, Birmingham. This is a vegetarian restaurant with a difference. Completely committed to sustainability Warehouse Cafe recycles everything they use. Their menus are inspired by seasonal British fruit and veg, using local food as much as possible. Including using allotment produce gifted by friends and supporters, providing direct control and transparency over the supply chain. They are often able use ingredients within an hour of them being harvested.

X is for XLP. The eXceL Project has been changing lives since 1996, after a school stabbing in a London playground. Everyone who works at XLP share a common passion: to serve the community by meeting the social, educational and behavioural needs of young people. Which encourages them to make wise lifestyle choices and realise their potential. XLP has grown from working in a single school to operating in over 75 schools and communities across Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Islington, Camden, Hackney and Lambeth.

Y is for Young Minds. The crisis in the UK of children and young people’s mental health is real and urgent. Even for those brave enough to take the vital first step, help is often far too hard for them to find. Young Minds are leading the way for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges. Through mental health support, they are fighting for young people to have the resilience to overcome life’s difficulties.

Z is for Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice. Through their hospices in Coventry, Liverpool and Middlesborough, Zoë’s Place provide palliative, respite and end of life care to babies and infants. It’s a free service available for children aged from 0-5, who are suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. With compassionate care at the heart of their philosophy, everyone is welcome to access their facilities irrespective of religious beliefs, colour, race, culture or gender.

Personalised Kids Book by Librio: The Tree, The Key & Me (Review) #ad

**Disclaimer: this review for personalised kids book “The Tree, The Key & Me” is a collaborative piece between myself and publisher Librio. If you wish to read my full disclosure policy, you can do so by clicking here.**

My kids absolutely adore their personalised books. There is something quite magical about getting to be the hero of the story, especially when your imagination is as big as theirs. I was sent two copies of The Tree, The Key & Me by Librio for Freddy (4) and Clara (6), and it did not disappoint.

The story revolves around a little girl or boy who finds a key, which opens a secret door in a tree. This leads him/her into the forest and lots of lovely woodland creatures. There’s been a disaster, and our hero has to solve the mystery to put things right again. The book is well written and beautifully illustrated.

personalised kids bookHow is The Tree, The Key & Me different from other personalised kids books? 

The main thing which immediately stands out, is the level of personalisation. Most other books only allow you to personalise with gender and name, with Librio you can choose seven characteristics.

As well as name and gender, you can select skin tone; hair and eye colour; hairstyle and (if applicable) you can even choose the colour of their glasses. Obviously you won’t get a mirror image of the child, but it’s a pretty good cartoon version.

I love that the story itself isn’t wishy washy and full of silly gender stereotyping. It’s truly unisex and appeals to both boys and girls. There isn’t a princess or king in sight. It’s an engaging story, and my kids want to read it over and over again.

Librio are a company with inspiring ethics

Being a self-certified eco warrior, I am absolutely in awe of the ethical standards Librio adhere to as a company. All books are printed on high quality 100% FSC certified recycled paper, by award-winning sustainable printers Pureprint Group. As far as I’m concerned, this speaks volumes. There are plenty of publishers on the market printing their books as cheaply as possible. Which, of course, costs the environment dearly.

As well as going to such lengths to print sustainably, Librio plant one tree via Trees for the Future for every book printed. This amazing charity are working hard to end hunger and poverty for farmers by revitalising degraded lands. They plant specific types of fast-growing trees, hardwoods and food crops in a systematic manner. Over a four year period, families see their lives positively changed, forever. What’s not to like about a cause such as this?

If this isn’t enough, for every book sold, Librio also donate £1 to literacy charities in the country where the book is bought. But they very much do not “just give money” (their words). Librio are dedicated to building a company which gives something back to society and help those in need. Again, what’s not to like?

Why I think you should you buy The Tree, The Key & Me  

Cards on the table: the personalised kids book market can seem a bit saturated and overwhelming. It’s chock full of popular TV characters and those wishy washy stereotypes I was talking about earlier. Just as the plastic toys from last years’ favourite show get forgotten about, these kind of books get boring, really quickly. If you are going to the trouble of buying a personalised kids book, why not get one that’s truly different?

Librio’s lovely website makes the ordering process super straight forward. You can preview what the entire book will look like, which is a nice touch. The order takes just a few minutes to prepare, and is turned around within one week.

personalised kids bookThe book is currently available in 18 languages, including UK and US English; French; German; Italian; Spanish; Welsh and many Swiss dialects. They’ve clearly put a lot of thought into inclusivity.

Some of my blogging colleagues have also written reviews. If you aren’t convinced by mine, please have a look at theirs.

Arthur WearsLife Unexpected | Someone’s Mum | Spirited Puddle Jumper | What the Redhead Said  

Don’t just take our word for it though! Check out Librio, and decide for yourself…  

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube

Librio Blog  

Librio have already created over 5,000 copies of The Tree, The Key & Me for children in over forty countries. They are offering a 15% discount when you order two or more books, by using the code YAY15. 

 

Free From Fairy Flour Gluten Free Pancakes Made by Polly (9) & Clara (6)

Hands up who loves pancakes? Trust me they don’t get much better than these, made using self-raising Free From Fairy Flour, which is rice free as well as gluten free. Take a look at the Free From Fairy blog to learn more. The lady behind the blog, Vicki, is a friend of mine. She created this fabulous flour blend so her coeliac daughter could eat plenty of nutrient dense home cooked food. Check out her blog, and be truly inspired by her gorgeous recipes.

Free From Fairy Flour is available in plain and self-raising, and contains three ancient grains (sorghum, buckwheat and teff). Although we mostly eat paleo here, we do occasionally have healthy resistant starches. Grains like this are much easier to digest than gluten containing grains, especially for those with allergies.

free from fairy flour

Kids in the kitchen

My children absolutely love cooking, and really enjoy being given the autonomy to do everything themselves. Pancakes made with free from fairy flour are super easy to make. As you can see in the video below, the girls had an absolute blast making our breakfast.

What you’ll need to make 10-12 pancakes 

  • 1 cup of self-raising free from fairy flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or one tsp of vanilla extract)

Method

  • crack your eggs into a large bowl and give them a whisk
  • add the rest of your ingredients, and mix well with your whisk
  • heat your pan until it’s med-hot, and grease with oil or melted butter
  • cook as you would any other pancakes
  • serve immediately

On Authenticity: How to be Authentic in a Shallow World

how to be authentic It’s a bit of an oxymoron writing the words ‘how to be authentic’ when my personal feeling is authenticity can’t be taught. If you naturally veer towards materialism and shallowness, then you’ll have to brace yourself before reading. And most definitely be prepared to do some work on yourself afterwards. This blog contains lots of links to other blogs I have written, which you might find useful. They are not affiliated links, and this is not a sponsored post. 

It’s easy to write the phrase ‘how to be authentic’ but what does being authentic mean?

The dictionary defines the word authentic as not false or copied; genuine; real. An authentic person isn’t trying to emulate anyone else. They don’t jump on every faddy bandwagon there is. They most certainly practice what they preach. Authentic people don’t say things, then behave in ways which indicate they’re not adhering to their own words. In a nutshell, authentic people are comfortable with their own opinions and values to always mean what they say.

Here’s the thing though. Even the most authentic people have to sometimes tone themselves down in certain work-related environments. Yes of course they shouldn’t have to, but when bills need to be paid, jobs need to be kept. The difference is that authentic people do not mask their true selves in front of their close friends and family. I’ve learnt quite a lot from observing my autistic daughter mask. For fear of not being liked, she presents the very best of herself to a group. This usually comes at the detriment of her family afterwards, because she knows she is 100% safe with us. Masking is exhausting and frustrating and leads to her being miserable.

If we get to full blown adulthood, and feel we have to mask to absolutely everyone we know, then it’s definitely time to reevaluate our inner circle. One of my big bugbears is when someone says something because they think it’s what I want to hear. Firstly they usually get it wrong, and secondly I’d rather they spoke the truth, come what may. Life is too short to waste time on the pointless minutiae.

how to be authenticAuthentic people don’t feel the need to share everything

Here’s a novel idea: minor difficulties can often be overcome quickly. There I said it. Society’s obsession with sharing every-single-thing-247365 means people are becoming incapable of dealing with normal challenges. I’m not talking about the big things. The bone crushing, soul destroying things. Death, divorce, serious illness, etc. It should go without saying that in these instances we need all the love and support we can get.

Do we really need to make such a big deal out of every teeny tiny inconvenience? Does everyone really need to know that your waitress was a bit shit at lunch? Or that you missed the bus and had to wait for the next one? Or that the man in the post office was really grumpy?

No good comes from holding onto anger and annoyance. It takes up too much headspace, which could be spent on being useful. Ask yourself: will these small details be remembered in five, ten years? Save your big emotions for the important stuff, otherwise you might find your reserves are empty when you need them the most.

The sad fact is, not everyone you’ll meet is authentic

I like to give everyone a chance and take them at face value. It’s really important to make our own minds up about other people. Whether or not we enjoy their company should determine our relationship with them. Allowing ourselves to be influenced by what other people think of them is nothing more than school playground behaviour.

Unfortunately social media has a way of making things blurry, and the fakery can be overwhelming and draining. Especially when a lot of the so-called celebs and high profile accounts do not even write their own content. Or have a personality to back up their witty words (which they didn’t write). Makes you think, doesn’t it?

how to be authenticSame with faddy bandwagons. Now, I am all up for people changing their ill health with good, clean food. This is a subject I have a lot to say about, and hugely advocate. I reversed my own infertility diagnosis in 2007, by cutting out refined sugar and processed carbs. I then went onto start eating the paleo way in 2012, years before it was mainstream. I also did the gut healing GAPS Intro Diet in 2014, and had brilliant results.

Now, almost twelve years after first cutting out refined sugar, guess what? I still don’t eat the stuff. How could I possibly know as much as I do about the damage it causes, and the way it makes me feel, then go ahead and eat it? That would be pure hypocrisy.

One thing I absolutely cannot stomach is when people claim to live a certain way but actually don’t. Scratch the surface and you realise that the all-natural enthusiast is as hopelessly addicted to junk (food, clothes, tv, etc) as everyone else.

So many people advocate a certain way of life but don’t actually live it. They’re desperate to, they want to so badly, but they just can’t. They don’t have the inner resources, and the strength it takes. Unfortunately these same people are easy targets for con artists to take advantage of. I think faddy bandwagons can be a very dangerous thing to jump onboard. Have a read of this if you’d like some help breaking out of bad habits, and forming some good ones.

I asked my Instagram followers if they considered themselves to be authentic

I found it astonishing that so many correlated authenticity with how much they were comfortable with sharing. Lots of people commented along the lines of “I am definitely authentic, but I don’t share everything online…” I genuinely do not agree with sharing every last detail online. Even during my earliest days of anonymous blogging, I didn’t. There might be plenty you all know about me, but there is a crap tonne you don’t. Especially over the last few years.

It would be all too easy for me to chase after the potential viral posts, by writing about autism. I just can’t bring myself to do it though. Every now and then I will, if I feel I have something useful and unique to say. Writing about it day after day basically meant reliving the hardest parts of my motherhood experience, and not moving forwards. Plus my daughter became hype aware of my online presence, and it didn’t feel fair to share such personal details about her.

how to be authenticChoosing to share certain elements of our lives does not make us inauthentic. Providing we aren’t misleading our readers with a false version of ourselves. The absolute best part of my job as a writer is when a reader gets in touch and tells me that my words have had an impact. I for one wouldn’t be able to live with myself if it was all a pack of lies.

The reason bloggers are getting such a bad rap at the moment is because this is so rife. Especially on Instagram. Surely if we have a public profile, the least we can give our readers is our integrity?

How to be authentic? I have come to this conclusion

Authenticity cannot be packaged up and sold. It can’t be copied or taught overnight. Values such as kindness, compassion and honesty cost nothing, yet they are so lacking in today’s society.

We are all a work in progress, living authentically simply means being true to our core beliefs. Not selling out for five minutes of fame or a few ££. Saying what we mean, and meaning what we say. Knowing not everyone will like us, and that being okay.

Authenticity is looking in the mirror, and genuinely being comfortable with what we see. It’s about owning our story. War wounds, warts and wobbly bits included. If you don’t, then it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee/tea/kombucha, my friends.

View this post on Instagram

I’m writing a piece on authenticity, and would like to pose the question to you all, my dear readers. Do you consider yourself to be an authentic person? 💖 Now, I am certain everyone would be inclined to immediately answer with a yes. In case you didn’t know, the dictionary defines the word authentic as: “not false or copied; genuine; real” 💖 Now ask yourself again. Am I authentic? Or am I just another wannabe in a sea of shallowness? I’m not asking this to start a fight, or be mean. I really do welcome interesting debate on here, and I love knowing that I often spark thoughts in people’s minds that most definitely weren’t there prior to reading my words. I’m hoping to spark one this evening…please discuss in the comments, and don’t forget to be kind! Can’t wait to see who replies!

A post shared by Reneé Davis (@mummytries) on

Why I’ve Deleted the Tribe App

I’m starting to think the Tribe App is the biggest swindle on the so-called influencer circuit. For those not in the know, it’s an easily accessible app connecting brands and influencers, for social media campaigns. Here’s the kicker though, you have to do the work upfront. So essentially you create content in advance, with zero guarantees of ever being paid for said work.

Tribe AppI’ve had several posts declined with good reason

For example a paleo protein energy bar, aimed at those doing lots of exercise. Now, as anyone who reads this here blog will already know, I’ve been eating paleo since 2012. I have also genuinely adored the brand since they launched their first products. However, the most exercise I manage is a five minute workout before getting in the shower.

Unless of course I’m on a pilates retreat, and in which case I’ll be doing a years worth of exercise in three days. So I can totally see why I wasn’t the best fit for this campaign.

I received this feedback from the Tribe App yesterday, rejecting a post I’d created a few days back

“Great content, but we’re looking for social accounts better aligned to our brand.”

Here’s the thing: this was for a waste reduction recycling campaign, and my post was all about how to not waste. In it I discussed how living in a world renowned eco estate for seven years helped me think creatively about our collective family waste, and how to avoid it in the first place.

One look at my blog or social media, and you’ll see that I am a real-life-tree-hugging-eco-warrior. Not an imposter, claiming to be for a collab. I even took a nice crisp photo on my proper camera, rather than the phone. In other words, I couldn’t have been MORE aligned to the brand, and yet they rejected me with the most ridiculously generic reasons. Making me think it’s a complete sham, and they have no intention of seeking people who are properly aligned to the campaign.

It’s not the first time this has happened with the Tribe App

Tribe AppAn organic non-caffeinated hot drink, even though I have spoken extensively before about the health benefits of the main ingredient (in non-sponsored content). Nail polish I’d been sent as a PR sample – clearly my channels were good enough to talk about the product for free, but not good enough to be paid. Wild caught salmon, again a perfect collab for someone who eats the way I do. I’d been chatting to the in-house PR and they’d specifically asked me to create a post via the app, then rejected it.

The list goes on…

All over the app you’ll hear that brands are looking for authentic content. Trouble is, authenticity does not come with professional level photography skills. Authenticity doesn’t come with every single product that falls into your path. Authenticity is very rarely found against an Instgrammable backdrop.

The Tribe App is making me miserable. It’s making me feel like an inadequate failure. So I’m deleting it. If it’s doing the same to you, I’d suggest you do the same!

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove