Introducing FoPo

Could a really simple idea bridge the current gap between food waste and food poverty? The team behind FoPo, a powder made from freeze dried surplus fruit, believe their product has the potential to feed 9 billion people and is trialling the concept in the Philippines at the moment. You can find out more here and in the video below.


Helping homeless and unemployed people to clean up

A not-for-profit company in Australia has started a mobile laundry service for people who are homeless. Using two washing machines and two dryers, Orange Sky are able to clean clothes for around ten people an hour. My favourite aspect of this invaluable service is that Orange Sky work alongside organisations which provide food to local homeless people, so that their clothes can be washed while they eat.


Meanwhile, back in England, Timpsons recently announced they will provide free dry cleaning for anyone who is unemployed and needs their clothes cleaned to attend an interview.


You can read more about why Timpsons have chosen to offer this service here, as well as the reasons why the firm is one of the few UK employers to recruit ex-convicts here.

A jolly good idea

Socks. One of those traditional stocking fillers so unimaginative and uncool you can’t justifiably buy them for anyone, ever. Well, you can now! Socks have been given a funky, ethical makeover by a company called Jollie Goods. Check out these beauties and the four other equally colourful designs on their website.


I love practical gifts and I’ve recently become a convert to socks that don’t feature the colours black or grey, so I’m putting the pink, blue and yellow ‘Joker’ pair on my Christmas list. Mind you, I wouldn’t normally dream of owning socks that cost £15. But these are no ordinary socks. For every pair bought, another is donated to somebody who is homeless, through a local partner charity, such as Southampton based Society of St James. Founder Ed Vickers explained in this interview how the best part of running the company is

explaining to the homeless folks that the people of their own town had bothered to buy socks for them. Considering that many people look through them and walk past them everyday; to be told that there are people who do care is something special.

So if you’re looking for a great Christmas present this year, I reckon you’ll be onto a winner with some Jollie Good socks. I’m excited about getting getting my hands (er, feet!) on a pair!

The Street Store

There’s something so exciting about simple, effective ideas that are a force for social good. Street Store, which describes itself as

the world’s first rent free, premises free, free pop up store for the homeless

is one of these concepts. If you’re new to Street Store, you should absolutely watch the video below to see how it works.

Warning: this video has been known to cause viewers to feel a wee bit emotional!

I’ve been so inspired by The Street Store that I’m currently looking into the possibility of organising one here in Southampton. I hope that by partnering with either (or both) of the organisations that support homeless people in this area – Two Saints and The Society of St James – I’ll be able to make this happen.

(With thanks to Jacqui for passing the Street Store link on to me).

Community clothes swap

This post is a slight deviation from my usual food themed blogging, but not completely unrelated. Like food, clothes can needlessly end up in landfill. The Leeds Community Clothes Swap helps prevent this by giving people the opportunity to come together and exchange their unwanted items of clothing for different ones. This video explains how the monthly clothes swapping event works.

As I found out in a Guardian article today, visitors to the clothes swap can also

donate spare credits into a pot for charities supporting vulnerable people such as a woman’s refuge or a centre for refugees

which is exactly like the idea behind suspended coffee.

A significant number of people who come to Southampton City Mission’s food bank are also given a voucher for our clothing bank, which operates in a different location. I had a long chat with a very sweet lady this week who said she was going there to look for a coat and shoes suitable for Winter, before it got too cold. She mentioned she’d recently taken some blouses that didn’t fit her anymore to a charity shop; a local clothes swap could potentially be a lifeline for people who can’t afford new clothes on their income.

There must already be many clothes swaps taking place in the UK, (including this one, at the university where I work) and I’m sure they will continue to grow in popularity with people from all walks of life. It’s one of those no brainer, win-win ideas that I love!