Sharing the skills
that help make the biggest difference
Kate Telford weaves her passion for helping others with her role at Unilever. When she saw that her IT skills could help the Tower Hamlets Food Bank get vulnerable people back on track, she got stuck in.
Kate was looking for the perfect opportunity to marry up her personal commitment to volunteering with her job at Unilever as Sustainable Business Technology Manager. When she heard about the Unilever Foundation’s work with the Tower Hamlet Food Bank she jumped at the chance to help make a difference. “It was really eye-opening,” says Kate “you realise food poverty is all around you”. Kate recognised that the food bank was more than just about giving out food donations. They also act as an information hub for local residents who have slipped through the social net because of the most basic administration errors – a letter lost in the post or a referral to the wrong social service.
“Tower Hamlets Food Bank have a really strong team and the people there are really inspirational and they have some great ideas about how they can help the local community,” says Kate. “We wanted to help them in the best way that was sustainable.”
Kate worked closely with another food hunger activist who knew the local social services inside out and together they created a digital platform to help the food bank manage their information better. The new system would sign post food bank users to the right people who could help them to get back on their feet.
“We gave them a digital platform,” she says. “I’m really proud of my involvement and I hope that we can create a nationwide network of best practice and knowledge sharing to help solve cases.”
Kate’s plan is to bring the Tower Hamlets model beyond East London to other community initiatives in the UK that are also addressing food hunger.
“I love making something I care about part of my job.”