Neighbourly, an innovative social platform founded in Bath and now based in Bristol that connects community projects with businesses keen to help them, has been selected by retail giant Marks & Spencer to run its nationwide Spark Something Good initiative.

Launched by Joanna Lumley in London on 29 July, where 24 community-based projects were created in 24 hours, and with ambitions for it to be rolled out to 23 other cities in the next two years, this is one community project hub with the possibility to really help change things for the better.

“The #SparkSomethingGood campaign proves what Neighbourly has always believed – that responsible companies will do more if the tools exist to help them”

 

nick-davies-joanna-lumley-neighbourlyNick Davies, Founder of Neighbourly (pictured right with Joanna Lumley), certainly believes it will make a difference: “What’s significant about #SparkSomethingGood is that it’s a movement, not a campaign. Marks and Spencer have committed to ‘sparking’ community engagement in 24 cities in the next 24 months. The majority of stores will also back their own local project within the Neighbourly site.

“A commitment of this scale can only come about following significant piloting and preparation. We’ve worked for 2 years to understand the needs of every department – the operational impact on people and business-as-usual. It’s our ability to work as a strategic partner that’s resulted in such a fantastic programme.”

In this two-year development period Neighbourly also helped each M&S store select and promote a local cause to support as their Charity of the Year. You can see more about what the Spark Something Good initiative (which forms part of Marks & Spencer’s Plan A, a sustainable business plan which is designed to enhance lives, every day) has done and plans to do in the video below:

 

Helping hundreds of community projects

Throughout the initiative, Neighbourly will provide M&S with a single platform through which to promote Spark Something Good on a national scale. All M&S stores will each use Neighbourly.com to select, manage and promote their fundraising activities with their local community causes of choice in the year ahead.

Wide Horizons volunteer team

Spark Something Good: M&S employees and volunteers renovating
the gardens and animal area at the Wide Horizons Environment Centre

With the potential to reach out to and inspire M&S’s 34 million customers to help their local community, this is a project that could truly help to improve lives up and down the country. As Nick explains: “M&S will create significant impact through staff volunteering and fundraising across the next 2 years – literally hundreds of community projects will be helped right across the country. But it doesn’t stop there. M&S hope to be a ‘catalyst’, sparking others to get involved and join in – be they an individual or a company.”

“We could not have done Spark Something Good without our friends at Neighbourly. They’ve brought us connections with the community and helped us identify the projects we want to work with”

 

It’s an exciting time for Neighbourly, and Nick is happy to tell us why: “The #SparkSomethingGood campaign proves what we’ve always believed – that responsible companies will do more if the tools exist to help them. M&S recognise that they have the resource, creativity and expertise to lead others. It’s that leadership aspiration that’s the most exciting development here.”

Mike Barry, Director Plan A, Marks & Spencer clearly agrees: “We could not have done Spark Something Good without our friends at Neighbourly. They’ve brought us connections with the community and helped us identify the projects we want to work with. And because they’re a digital platform we’re able to show what M&S stores are able to do together rather than every store having its own, isolated story. Together we’re truly stronger, and Neighbourly’s at the heart of that.”

You can join Neighbourly here and also follow them on Twitter to see what’s happening near you. You can see more (and get involved with) the Spark Something Good here