Throughout the year, and in particular during the Christmas period, Amazon employees and charity partners provide support to communities and those in need. The rising costs of living in the UK means the most vulnerable communities are facing the greatest challenges for themselves, and their families.
Charities and grassroots organisations up and down the country are witnessing the difficulties that people across the UK face this winter. That’s why we’re working to do even more to help those who can make the biggest impact.
Read more to find out about the support Amazon is giving and how customers can get involved:
1. Join Amazon in supporting Comic Relief’s Cost of Living Appeal
Comic Relief is working with organisations throughout the UK to help people through these tough times and ease the pressure caused by rising costs. Through their Cost of Living Appeal, Comic Relief are seeking to fund the Bridge Community Project, who are providing blankets to people; Plant Dewi, who are giving young parents baby bundles so they can keep their newborns safe; Humanity Concern, who are providing warm spaces and emergency food, and many more organisations.
In November, Amazon donated £300,000 to help the appeal reach its target, and we encourage our employees and customers to get involved through spreading awareness or making a small donation on our website.
2. Support the causes that matter to you with Amazon for Charity
Amazon recently launched Amazon for Charity, a dedicated online shop where customers can buy products sold by major UK charities, with 100% of the profits going directly to their good causes.
All profits from every purchase of our products on Amazon go directly to help Macmillan do whatever it takes for people living with cancer.
Many charities sell their own range of products to generate fundraising revenue, and now with Amazon for Charity, customers can easily purchase these items alongside other products they might normally buy on Amazon.co.uk. We are waiving all referral fees and participating charities will get the opportunity to reach millions of new customers currently shopping on Amazon.
“Amazon for Charity has given us a great opportunity to showcase our ranges to a brand-new audience,” said Matt Newnham, Senior Merchandiser at Macmillan Cancer Support. “All profits from every purchase of our products on Amazon go directly to help Macmillan do whatever it takes for people living with cancer.”
Customers can shop items from Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, the Royal British Legion and the Natural History Museum, with more charities coming in 2023.
3. Providing a nutritious start to the day with Magic Breakfast
An estimated four million schoolchildren in this country start their day hungry, which is why Amazon is proud to be a long-standing supporter of Magic Breakfast. The charity provides healthy breakfasts to children in deprived areas of England and Scotland every morning. Together, we have delivered more than 6.6 million breakfasts to children at risk of hunger.
But hunger doesn’t stop during the holidays which is why Amazon has made a £285,000 donation to Magic Breakfast to support holiday provision this winter due of the ongoing cost of living crisis. The donation will be used to fund additional take-home breakfast packs for children and their families over the Christmas holidays.
This support is particularly important given the cost of living emergency as Magic Breakfast, like so many charities, sees growing levels of hunger in the classroom and rising costs.
“We know that hunger over the holidays has a damaging impact on learning, mental and physical health of pupils,” said Lindsey Macdonald, CEO of Magic Breakfast. “Amazon’s generous holiday packs will give reassurance to families this festive season. We are so grateful to Amazon for their long-term partnership and for helping us ensure that as many children as possible can get a healthy and nutritious breakfast at the start of the school day. This support is particularly important given the cost of living emergency as Magic Breakfast, like so many charities, sees growing levels of hunger in the classroom and rising costs.”
The rising cost of living will have a significant impact on Magic Breakfast and the children it helps, so we have also made an additional £250,000 unrestricted donation to the charity to help with the rising costs of providing food for vulnerable children so that no child is too hungry to learn.
4. Creating a ‘chill chain’ for UK foodbanks to boost quality and access
Currently, foodbanks across the UK aren’t always able to accept frozen or fresh items due to a lack of freezer storage facilities. To help tackle this, Amazon are making a £100,000 investment into building a ‘chill chain’ of foodbanks in the UK by providing industrial freezers and retrofitting community vans, allowing them to better serve their local communities and helping them source high quality food to those most in need.
High-quality frozen items like vegetables and meat offer a more nutritious option for families and children. If items are not transported or stored correctly, they represent a potential health hazard. Without freezers, foodbanks cannot do this and must destroy the items. The donation will allow foodbanks to preserve larger amounts of food in safer conditions, and to continue to deliver vital services to the community.
The investment also brings a longer-term community impact; every 0.5kg of food wastage that can be saved from unnecessary destruction represents one meal for a vulnerable person. Supporting chill chain logistics will positively impact food security throughout the year and help communities access fresh, high quality food items. Based on annual wastage throughout the year, with an average lifespan of five years per van, Amazon’s support for a chill chain will provide an additional 1.3 million meals.
5. Tackling digital poverty with Tech4Schools
The issue of digital access and digital poverty means many disadvantaged children and families across the UK are excluded from basic learning, work and career opportunities. That’s why Amazon and digital education charity the Learning Foundation have launched Tech4Schools, a new scheme that provides low-income schools serving disadvantaged communities with new devices, digital skills training and tech support.
The scheme is funded by Amazon, and will be rolled out in collaboration with In Kind Direct, who will connect schools with their devices, and education charity Teach First, who will identify schools to participate in the scheme, all of whom will be part of Teach First programmes.
Following £360,000 funding from Amazon, Teach First will select schools in need from disadvantaged communities across the UK to receive support. Each school will receive a donation to fund devices to use at home and in-class, as well as other tech accessories they may need, such as keyboards and headphones.
Participating schools will also receive bespoke support from the Learning Foundation on how to embed a digital culture within the school, how to engage with parents, and how teachers can best use devices to enhance learning opportunities for young people of all ages.
6. Empowering young people with youth charity OnSide
This December, Amazon launched a new initiative with youth charity OnSide to highlight the need for investment in youth spaces and young people. This comes as new research shows almost half (49%) of young adults nationwide feel there are too few free places for them to go, at a time when two-thirds (69%) cite the cost of living crisis as their biggest concern.
Amazon’s work with OnSide involves financial support, product donations, and ongoing programming which will help give young people around the country access to inspiring people across Amazon’s workforce and network through volunteering schemes. Amazon locations across the UK are linking up with individual Youth Zones which are part of OnSide’s network to support their unique needs at a local level, from fundraising support to product donations, volunteering to mentorship.
To celebrate the launch, BAFTA award winner and Star Wars actor John Boyega, who grew up on a council estate in south London, paid a surprise visit to OnSide’s Legacy Youth Zone in Croydon to help deliver their Amazon Wish List – as selected by the youth workers and young people at the zone.
John spoke to young adults about his journey from his roots in London to a career on the big screen, advocating for the importance of young people having access to safe, vibrant spaces. He shared that he found his own passion for acting through a hyper-local after-school drama project.
“We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up so I know how important it is to have free spaces and activities outside of the home,” said John. “I was lucky that I had my father’s church and a local community drama group at Theatre Peckham, so I had places to go, and opportunities to dream. That’s why places like Legacy Youth Zone in Croydon are so important for the next generation - we just need more of them, all across the country so young people have a safe space to be themselves and have the opportunity to discover their passions in life, just as I did.”
7. Supporting learning through the holidays
Amazon supports students, teachers and parents with free computer science & STEM education programmes. We recently launched two exciting new challenges that young people can get involved with over the holidays – The Alexa Young Innovator Challenge and Your Voice is Power.
The Alexa Young Innovator Challenge is Amazon’s new coding competition which invites students aged 13-18 to create an Alexa Skill that has the power to change the world around them. We’ve provided free lesson plans and activity sheets to get students started, and they could win some fantastic prizes for themselves and their schools. Find out more about the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge, entries close on 3 February 2023.
Pharrell Williams, Georgia Tech, Computing at School and Amazon invite students to engage in Your Voice is Power, an inspiring new learning experience that explores the ways music, computer science, and entrepreneurship can be tools to advance racial equity. Using Georgia Tech’s EarSketch platform, students code a 30 second – three-minute musical remix using Pharrell's song “Entrepreneur”. The winning students will receive an Amazon Gift Card for themselves as well as for their school. Entries close on 30 March 2023. Find out more about Your Voice is Power.
Read more about Amazon’s work in our communities.