Valentine’s Day – A made-up holiday created up by the big greeting cards lobby or a day to share with your partner and show them how much you care? Whether you think it’s a capitalist con to shore up corporate profits or one of the most special days of the year, Valentine’s Day 2021 will be very different from any other. With restaurants, bars, theatres and pretty much everything shut, options to celebrate are pretty limited but luckily there are plenty of social enterprises selling some brilliant products supporting a range of good causes. Here are a few ways you can #buysocial this Valentine’s Day.
Remember, when you #buysocial and support social enterprise you are using your spending power to help create a fairer, more equal world. It’s a way of showing solidarity with communities both in the UK and across the globe at a time when this has never been more needed.
Harry Specters manufacture luxury chocolates whilst creating employment and training opportunities for young people with autism. Their mission is to offer confidence and hope to young people and since being set up in 2012 they have worked with over 467 people. Only 16% of adults with autism are in work, and the pioneering efforts of social enterprises like Harry Specters are helping break down barriers and create autism friendly workspaces. For Valentines Day they’ve released a new selection of their beautiful chocolates.
The onset of coronavirus related lockdowns saw a surge in cases of domestic violence, with the ONS reporting a 9% increase in reported incidents between April and May 2020 when we were in the first national lockdown. Social enterprise LUX LUZ creates eco-soy scented candles and reed defusers donating their profits to support the rising number of women facing abuse and vulnerability through funding emergency nights in refuges, therapy services and other longer term recovery activities. Their name means light in Latin and in Spanish.
Forty Hall Vineyard
A vineyard in London?! Forty Hall Vineyard not only defies the realms of geographical possibility but it’s also a social enterprise running ecotherapy for people with mental health needs and volunteering opportunities for their local community. It sells quality white and sparkling wines which would make a perfect Valentines Day gift.
Restaurants may be closed but why not bring restaurant quality food to you? (if you actually can cook, otherwise you can give it a go and see what happens…) Migrateful runs cookery classes led by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, supporting them access employment and build connections in their new home. The asylum system is bureaucratic and dehumanising and even once given refugee status there are still many challenges to face which have been compounded by the pandemic. Migrateful have now taken their courses online so you can join from anywhere in the UK. They also run supper nights where you can get quality food delivered to your door!
Given we’ve been spending no money eating out, going on holiday and pretty much anything that involves leaving the house it’s more than justifiable to spend any extra cash on being comfortable and looking good in zoom meetings! Hopeful Traders are a social enterprise which works with creatives affected by homelessness and mental illness, collaborating with them on the designs of the clothing you can find on their website. They offer a platform for marginalised voices sharing the stories and creative work of its collaborators.
Items include this Unisex Unisex 100% Organic Cotton Sweatshirt, designed by Brandon Richards. Brandon has chosen to support The Pilion Trust with 5% of revenue from sale of his design. The Pilion Trust support homeless young people in north London and have supported Brandon through periods of homelessness.
Finally, if your attitude to Valentine’s Day is “well who gives a cr*p”, which is pretty much my attitude to the day, you can always take this sentiment and use it to buy some social enterprise toilet paper from well, Who Gives a Crap.
Whatever you choose to buy, you’ll be supporting and helping to grow the social enterprise movement!