The Social Action Stars making a massive impact

ncs 26/11/2018

This is the incredible story of a group of NCSers in Exeter who had one simple idea. You may have read up on this Social Action Project before in our nominees post. Well, it turns out that was just the beginning. Since then, they’ve gone on to win the Social Action Star Award for their efforts (woo!), and here’s why...

As a team, they spotted a couple of ways they could improve their local Sainsbury’s food donation initiative. Matt, 16, one of the young people involved in the project said, “We realised that it wasn’t until people had finished their shopping and were leaving the store that they noticed the food bank bin.” The teens’ aim was to increase donations for their local food bank by raising awareness and making sure people were donating products that were in demand.

The solution was these beautifully simple ‘Priority Item’ stickers. They were placed alongside items that were in high demand by the Exeter Foodbank. The result? Food donations TRIPLED in their local Sainsbury’s! How good is that?!

But it didn’t stop there. The team of 13 have continued to have a positive impact that stretches farther than Exeter. The priority item labels have now been developed and will be taken nationwide as part of Argos and Sainsbury’s campaign to ‘Help Brighten A Million Christmases’. Sainsbury’s will be rolling out the signage in all stores across the UK to help kick-start the donation drive!

Claudine Blamey, Sainsbury’s Group Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, said, “It’s been brilliant to work with the NCS grads to permanently roll out their fantastic label initiative to all our stores and help reach our target of one million donations. We are committed to making a positive difference in local communities and we hope our customers get on board to help brighten the lives of those less fortunate in the community.”

We asked Mark Richardson, manager of Exeter Foodbank, for his thoughts on this project: “The results of this initiative just goes to show that sometimes you just need a new mind on an old problem, sometimes the most simple ideas have the greatest impact.” 
Sometimes NCSers can feel a little daunted by Phase Three (the social action stage), so we asked Jess, one of the teens involved in this impactful project, for her words of wisdom. “Don’t be! At the end of the day, you are giving back to the community and helping others. The best feeling in the world is knowing you’ve helped someone!” 

With so many things to be proud of, we asked the group to share their highlights with us. Team member Jodie said it was, “Seeing how much of a difference we all made with only such a small thing. And also having fun whilst doing it!” While for Jess it was, “Reading news articles about how we tripled donations”. 

Safe to say, these NCSers thoroughly deserve their title as the winners of this year’s Social Action Star Awards. Huge congratulations guys, this is a massive achievement. We feel very proud!

To date, a massive 12 million hours of social action have been completed by NCS participants and we can’t wait to see what amazing work will come out of 2019’s programme!