9 children in every classroom of 30 were living in poverty pre-pandemic- that’s 4.3 million children across the UK who had limited access to food, menstruation products and other living essentials. This was before the pandemic. During the period of lockdowns, growing inequality and unemployment, 120,000 children and 580,000 adults fell into poverty and by April 2023, it is estimated that a further 500,000 children will as well.
This is why the work of charities such as MCKS Charitable Foundation is so important. By sending weekly deliveries to 16 school pantry cupboards across the UK, MCKS is able to support between 300-400 families every week. The Chairman of MCKS, Les Flitcroft, aims to keep growing and expanding the charity, with 400 schools currently on the waitlist for support.
“Our longer term vision is to build a centre that will provide for many generations to come,” Mr Flitcroft says.
He founded the charity in 2012 in line with the values and teachings of Master Choa Kok Sui, his teacher. “Our values are based on the universal principle of divine oneness. When you help someone you help everyone”.
The proposed centre mimics this idea in the vision of becoming a “state of the art retreat that will heal, inspire and rejuvenate”.
The images and plans below present a beautiful building surrounded by nature and open space, a place designed to foster peace and embrace the outside. A relieving contrast to the experiences of those most affected by the pandemic. For MCKS, transitioning from a grant giving charity to setting up their own initiatives such as this community centre “has taken time and patience and we are now in a solid position to move the charity forward as we have a strong platform on which to build.”
In addition to supporting schools, MCKS operates a pantry in Basingstoke that offers long-term membership as well as emergency food parcels to vulnerable families. In May 2022 alone, 2.6 million children were living in households that have had to go without food or are missing multiple meals as a result of the cost of living crisis that the UK is facing. Inflation and rising food, housing and energy costs are affecting the most disadvantaged families in the UK, it is estimated that bills are higher than the household income of the poorest 60%.
The foundation writes that their “current challenge is that we are buying food at retail prices and donating it for free so ideally we would like supermarkets and retailers to support us with corporate partnerships and discounts so that we can increase the number of children and families we support. In this current economic climate we realise that everyone is feeling the pinch and are extremely grateful for the generosity of the donations we continue to receive”. Most funding for the charity comes from individual donations, the growth of donations as well as support from and partnerships with corporate companies are key to expanding the foundation’s impacts and helping to fulfil its aim of “providing caring and compassionate support to all”.
For more information, visit the MCKS Charitable Foundation website.