Spice Village Uplyft is a 100% volunteer group with almost everyone working on a pro bono basis. The volunteers represent a diverse group including women, professionals, entrepreneurs, lawyers, health professionals, minorities, and people from diverse backgrounds and sexual orientations. SVU has been working as a 100% self-sustainable volunteer model as an Incorporated Association. We raise the funds ourselves through our volunteers.
Spice Village Uplyft was founded by volunteers to meet the following outcomes:
We are not affiliated to any particular group through we work with multi-ethnic communities, volunteer bodies, charities, food banks, public and statutory bodies. We are all tied up by the spirit to serve humanity at large. Most of our volunteers come from various ethnic communities and settled communities. Our volunteers are recruited through an open policy of volunteering through which anyone, identifying themselves with the vision and mission of the organisation can volunteer. Our vision is to form an inclusive society with equal opportunities. Our mission focuses on removing those obstacles which could hamper the way in forming such a society through food donations, provision of training and on-the-job placements, opportunities such as job fairs, recruitment festivals and interviews etc. Most of the volunteers working with us are from India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Afro-Caribbean origins.
SVU is a need-based/driven idea that was initiated in 2015. We have been approached by various food banks and other organisations and we were astonished by the need. We found out the food crisis is bigger than what is usually visible so we thought to reach out to vulnerable people ourselves.
Our social mobility initiative UpLyft is exceptional as it aims to improve the prospects of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, asylum seekers and refugees; young people (over 16 years old) with English as a second language; people on low incomes; single parents, homeless and insecurity housed, young people, survivors of domestic violence and military veterans. The initiative ensures that the principles of social equality are embedded in our internal processes and how we attract and recruit diverse talent. The UpLyft initiative aims to support people from disadvantaged backgrounds through skills building, job opportunities and advocacy and leadership.
The UpLyft initiative is unique in many ways. As for as we are aware, this is the only initiative taken by BAME-led volunteers in the biggest borough of London that is tackling food crisis, job placements and inclusive recruitment. Another unique element is its sustainability by the organisational resources without any dependence on charitable grants. Spice Village’s vicinities, facilities, kitchen and staff have been used to fund the UpLyft initiative. The organisation is aware that it is a small initiative. However, it is proud that it has been woven into the organisational processes seamlessly. One of the unique features of the UpLyft initiative is to include military veterans in the programme. SVU has arranged signed the Armed Forces Recruitment Festivals with Rear Admiral Mike Bath from the Royal Navy with the pledge to provide training, skills development and leadership opportunities to our heroes and veterans. The UpLyft initiative has inspired hundreds of young residents from Croydon who were provided opportunities to join the British Navy and embark upon a career to serve and contribute. The Royal Navy’s senior officers attended these fairs and inspired the young audience. Probably one of the most exceptional features of the UpLyft initiative was to launch the One Million Meals campaign during the first lockdown (April – June 2020) when the entire country was ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of meals and nutritious drinks were served to the NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics through this campaign. The One Million Meals campaign was recognised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Chris Philp. #NoOneEatsAlone initiative by the SVU has fed thousands of the homeless and vulnerable people since 2015 on the Christmas Day.
There are certain volunteers who identify the need for food urgency n the area. They liaise with the food banks, local councils, and other bodies. There are volunteer drivers, chefs, and operations people who follow the trail and prepare and deliver the food. Our youth volunteers work with the youth in the area in the clubs, football grounds, and other happening places. We usually get requests for training in the job fairs hosted by us where the applicants are shortlisted and called for follow-up interviews.
Through the Spice Village Uplyft (SVU), we reach out to the following people in Croydon:
There are various surveys with the Croydon Council that indicate the need for training, on-the-job development, and other needs in the area.