Last year a Knowsley charity that envisaged serving 11.5k people with food parcels instead fed more than 65,000 hit by Covid-related food crises – an increase of around 80%.
Knowsley businessman Dr Maurizio Bragagni, who is CEO of Tratos, which has its UK cable-manufacturing base in the town, is calling for the UK’s businesses to take another look at how they support their local community.
“Most companies have been supporting their communities on the corporate agenda. But these are unusual times and what ‘ticked a box’ for business in 2019 won’t work for charities and local community organisations struggling to protect our most vulnerable now,” said Dr Bragagni.
Speaking after handing over a donation of £2,000 raised by the Esharelife Foundation, he founded and chairs, he commended the work of Knowsley’s www.bighelpproject.com – and others like it across the country.
He said: “I was moved by the charity’s account of its challenges during the first Covid lockdown. I was inspired by its members’ tenacity and dedication. They suddenly had thousands more people who were in food poverty or crisis, vulnerable, shielding, self-isolating and elderly people relying on their help. They didn’t give up, they didn’t let them down.
“We need to make sure they and other organisations like them have the resource to keep carrying on. Covid hasn’t finished with us yet.”
Dr Bragagni went on to say that businesses had to re-evaluate, not just their levels of contribution, but the frequency, where the need was greatest and how best to provide support in the right areas.
“The days are gone – or at least they should be – where it was a company’s chairperson’s choice that was fully supported. I’m not arguing that favoured organisations shouldn’t continue to receive contributions, but what I want everyone in the business community to do is to ask themselves a very important question about where need is at its greatest – and respond. The business community is well-placed to help the local community, it is a member of it – and it should help.
Dr Bragagni and his family choose to work in foodbanks every Christmas. His family-owned business, Tratos, is unusual. Its mission, the mission written into its governance for more than 50 years, is solely ‘to create jobs in deprived areas.’