Prism gives Starr packs
Homelessness is a problem which continues to ravage the UK. As of November 2018, it was reported by Shelter that at least 320,000 people were recorded as living rough on British streets. This data suggests that up to 36 people per day are being made homeless, which has led to the British government investing a further £1.2 billion in an attempt to provide relief. Homelessness can be triggered by a variety of socio-economic factors. In many cases, it is increasing living costs which hits hardest.
However, many philanthropists continue to work hard in finding new ways to help people in need. Gary David Smith, co-founder and Director of Prism (www.prism.uk.com) believes business people and SME owners could engage with their local communities and help to get homeless people in their area back on their feet again.
Prism is a company which has a history of giving back to its local community wherever possible. “We have always tried to be creative with our giving,” Smith states. “Starting to raise funds is one thing, however, applying them in a creative and thought-out way presents a challenge for all aspirational philanthropists.”
Smith and Prism have recently announced a scheme branded the ‘Starr Pack’. Having discussed local homelessness concerns with a variety of causes and charities, the SME has developed a scheme where direct help can be given to people who are sleeping rough. The aim is to provide direct help, not just a token gesture.
“Having discussed plans with several causes, it was suggested that a pre-packed rucksack may be of most benefit to the local homeless,” Smith explains. “These may contain sleeping bags, wind-up torches, wind-up radios, ponchos and socks, for example.”
With this inspiration, Prism has already built at least 40 packs to be distributed via local causes and centres. These ‘Starr Packs’ will be delivered to people in the community who need the resources the most. For Smith and the team, this is only the beginning.
“Many people have shown interest in the Starr Packs so far,” Smith explains, “It’s struck quite a chord. We have been approached regarding the possibility of providing more on a regular basis. It’s certainly something we’d like to explore.” The news that Prism’s work is already being widely appreciated may be indicative that other SMEs could follow suit – with similarly positive results. Is it time for small to medium companies across the UK to start thinking more altruistically?
Smith’s philanthropic work via Prism could be adopted by SMEs elsewhere. As leading brands in local communities, the Director suggests, small to medium firms may be inspired to give a little bit back to nearby people who need genuine care and support.
Charities such as Shelter work hard to support homeless people as much as possible. However, with financial issues and varying personal factors giving rise to greater numbers on the streets, it is clear that a direct approach can be beneficial. It’s estimated that there are more people living homeless in London than elsewhere in the country, but that the North of England has seen a worrying spike emerge over the past 24 months.
SMEs may be in a prime position to help local people in need. Acts of kindness will not only help people find their way back into comfortable living, but may also impact on brand image. Altruism is not a selfish endeavour, rather, as in the case with Prism, it is using available resources to help make less fortunate lives a little easier.
Smith believes that SMEs can do plenty to reach out and help. From gestures as small as recycling old equipment, to building useful support packs, he encourages business owners to think creatively about how they can support the community around them. What’s more, business owners may be surprised by the demand they receive in return.