Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sing while you're winning by Freya Morgan

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Last Wednesday, the world watched as giant Tunnocks teacakes danced, John Barrowman publicly kissed another man, and Scottie dogs were proudly marched around Celtic Park to mark the opening of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The entire spectacle was hugely entertaining, fun and was served up with a large slice of Scottish patriotism (hence “Nessie” the musical).

I, however, was too busy bouncing off the walls about the involvement of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, alongside Eric Whitacre and his Virtual Youth Choir, to notice anything else.

Having been a member of several of these ‘National Youth Fill-The-Gap’ as a child and teenager, I was painfully aware of the fact that many of these organisations go undiscovered by the vast majority of young people, many of whom have the talent and mindset to become an outstanding member. Many of these groups, whether it be the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, choir, or Youth Music Theatre UK, provide young people across the United Kingdom with the opportunity to access a career that may otherwise be forgotten or abandoned, labelled as the stuff of childhood dreams.

Nevertheless, here they were! My compatriots! On the stage in front of the Queen, and Rod Stewart, and 100,000,000 viewers! I knew that this was their chance to prove that these organisations are worthwhile and provide a solid foundation for future prospective careers in the performing arts. For these teenagers to actually perform in such a prestigious setting, being conducted by Eric Whitacre, alongside the world-famous Virtual Youth Choir... they must have felt as high as the crane upon which John Barrowman was now dancing.

These organisations should be broadcast simply because they allow young people to be pushed beyond the boundaries of their day-to-day lives, to interact with professionals and ask questions, to learn more about the possibilities their future holds, and most importantly, to make friends. Without this sounding like a sob story, I didn’t have the greatest time at school, and music was my place to go where I felt safe and special. When I became part of the National Youth Choir and London Youth Choir, these courses became the highlight of my year because I had found a place where we were all united under the “Music Geek” banner that we soon became immensely proud of, just like the members of National Youth Choir of Scotland on that stage last Wednesday.

That, and the fact that we were performing with people like Sting’s guitarist in venues like the Royal Albert Hall. Every. Single. Course. It really was a teenage girl’s dream come true.

Unfortunately, chances are if a parent has heard of these organisations and feels that their child would be suited to attending one of its courses, they’ve probably written the entire experience off as too expensive, as an activity for the lucky children at £30,000-a-year schools to indulge in during their time off from horse-riding and lacrosse summer camps.

I can confidently say that this is not the case. Many of these groups are registered charities, and create bursaries through fundraising and sponsors. The National Youth Choir of Great Britain, for example, offers funding not only for the course itself, but also for any fees incurred when prospective applicants attend auditions.

These programmes allow for young people to access performance education like they’ve never seen before, while at the same time making life-long friends. The National Youth Choir of Scotland did us all a favour at the Commonwealth Opening Ceremony, by putting their name, and what they represent, to the general public. Now, all that we have to do is make what happened on that stage happen across the country, for every willing young individual.

Even the Queen smiled! If that’s not a blessing, I don’t know what is.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Can the millennials save the world?

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Generation Y might be sat on the sidelines of today's philanthropy, but is their smaller role due to a lack of interest in the game or is it a new generation not wishing to play wearing last season's kit? Makerble's Karin Killander finds out.

Tucked away in London's Baker Street in the offices of our 2014/15 hosts WhatIf Innovation, this month's Give As You Live’s report put a smile on everyone's face in Team Makerble. Reading the report it looked as though Makerble was designed specifically for Generation Y - the millennial age group born between 1981-1996 .

Generation Y is the smallest demographic with regards to charitable giving and are rejecting many traditional methods of fundraising such as street-fundraising or TV adverts, which often use feelings of guilt or duty to move people to give.

At Makerble, we believe that people are inherently good and that if they are not moved to donate, it is our responsibility to innovate. That is why we have created a first of its kind platform that tackles one of Gen Y’s major reasons for not donating: the lack of transparency about what their donations actually achieve (Forbes 10/04/2013). Makerble enables everyone to find, fund and follow the charitable projects that are making the change they personally wish to see in the world. Rather than using pity to draw people to particular issues, we are aiming to inspire Gen Y to change the world their way, supporting the causes they care about with donation amounts they can afford.

According to Give As You Live, Gen Y is best reached by creating a community of passionate, like-minded individuals who can not only contribute to the cause financially but engage socially too. Makerble does this by adding a gamification layer to the giving experience through gamified impact updates that show donors the number, variety and stories of the people their donations help.

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Furthermore, we have created an opportunity for users to share stories with potential supporters of how they are making change in the world and to receive real-time impact notifications from the projects of their choice.

Even though Gen Y today give the least, they are the age group that is most likely to increase their donations in the next 12 months, according to Give As You Live’s report. To reach these potential donors, charities must target a generation of smartphone owners and social media users This creates a “pressing” need for a digital strategy - something most charities lack today, with 83% of charities without a mobile strategy. To overcome this, at Makerble we are creating social media campaigns of our own to promote the projects that charities list on our platform.

Aimee Maede's response to the report in The Guardian stated that crowdfunding is the key to reach millennial philanthropists. We agree. In our experience today’s generation of donors want to feel part of the solutions they fund which is why the transparency of crowdfunding makes it an appealing donation vehicle. Makerble is designed to give donors a rich insight into what their donations achieve so that they feel that they have played a genuine role in making change happen.

In the words of  Give As You Live’s founder Sally Gowers, Gen Y is the future of fundraising and their lack of giving today is down to most charities not yet having figured out how to reach them. Could Makerble be the new platform for Gen Y to give the way they want to? We welcome your thoughts!


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Four ways to make any festival, festical (that’s a combination of festival and ethical) by Sophia Parsons

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*Tune – Ning Nang Nong, by Spike Milligan*
“During the summers long
Where the tents poles PONG!
And the crowds they all say WOO!
There are some fashionable things
Where the creators sing
Helping our planet is what we do"

Whether it’s music, literary, poetic or foodie; with the Pimms-soaked, BBQ-fuelled summer comes one thing: the festival. Trying to get into the spirit of all things verse I’ve tried to replicate Spike Milligan’s ‘Ning Nang Nong’ as a tiny teaser to the contents of this little article (as corny as it may be). The glitter-dusted-and-cider-sodden-fields seem to invoke something within us, and it comes in the form of an entirely new wardrobe. You can practically hear the chi-ching of the big name brands' tills knowing that the good festival-goers will be in need of more bang for their buck to counteract their overly priced tickets.

However – there are canaries at the end of every consumerism tunnel to help keep you feel like an ethical Alexa Chung. The four brands below have some beautifully moral answers to all your wardrobe questions. So when you’re amongst every crowd, rubbing up with people you met not 30 seconds ago but are now close enough to procreate, you can not only look good but feel it too.

1. Annie Greenabelle
Launched in September 2007, the brand combines use of organically grown, recycled and reclaimed fabrics. Initially launching with a small website and concession in Topshop Oxford Circus, they now supply 6 new lines a week to

Annie Greenabelle doesn’t believe that anyone or anything should be treated badly in pursuit of a ‘bargain’ piece of clothing, and follows the words of Mahatma Gandhi “there is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness” to the letter. All their factories comply with the ETI base code and there organic certified yarn from India come from a factory ran by Franciscan nuns, who through their business help girls who are deaf, dumb or very poor.

The Annie Greenabelle site has an array of t-shirts and vests suitable for any of the festivals still on the calendar, their very own ‘festivals’ section on their site is worth a peek at!

2. Katherine Hamnett
Otherwise known as the goddess of every outspoken warrior who is fighting the good fight out in the field, for both the fashion realm and all other social issues. Her latest t-shirt; ‘SAVE THE BEES: SACK PATTERSON’ triggered by the (no longer) Secretary of State for Environment backing bee killing pesticides. Not only do her t-shirts carry a powerful message, but they would equally finish off any festival look perfectly.

3. Kuyichi
Starting in 2001, they were the first brand to introduce socially-responsible organic cotton jeans wear. The brand was established after seeing how fashion has an immensely negative impact on ecological and social circumstances. They went on to lead the way in creating sustainable fashion from recycled cotton, recycled plastic bottles and alternative materials such as hemp and tencel. The brand has some well suited summer festival t-shirts and denim jackets to provide the cherry on top of your festival-wardrobe-shaped-iced-bun.

4. People Tree
People Tree is recognised as a pioneer in Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable fashion. For over 20 years People Tree has partnered with fair trade artisans and farmers in the developing world to produce a collection of ethical and eco fashion. The brand has a vast array of tops and t-shirts that you could sport at any festival, for both men and women. They also have some patterned adorned dresses that will compliment your wellingtons should the heavens turn against you whilst you are singing your heart out.

So there we have it – four brands with morals as beautiful as their pieces. We aren’t suggesting you kit your entire wardrobe out with ethical-only wear-and charity shop all your high-street-bought-clobber: we are realistic. Some interjection is good - that’s achievable. You could be that someone that's spotted across the mass of bodies freaking OUT to whoever is oozing stage presence at the time, becoming a catalyst of ethical buying. However, even if you don’t, you still did your best – and every little counts (cheers Tesco). Now, enough of the lecture on morals and social responsibility, and let’s PARTAY *raves*.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The sun is shining – the weather is sweet. It’s time to do what us Britons do best – BBQ!

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Just in case you needed an excuse to dust off the tongs and fire the barby up - this weekend Cancer Research are planning a nationwide BBQ extravaganza in the fight against cancer. Invite your workmates, neighbours, family and friends – all they have to do is to donate to attend which they can do online.

In the 1970s only a quarter of people survived cancer. Today, more than half will survive for at least ten years and this is thanks to a substantial increase in investment in areas like prevention, new therapies and early diagnosis research.

We’ve included our top tips and recipes below to make sure your BBQ’s are a raging success so you can support this campaign which touches nearly every one of us.

Give yourself enough preparation time and get the barbie warmed up before your guests arrive. There's nothing worse than a pressured cook and a lot of hungry guests so get started nice and early - the nice thing about a BBQ is it's very sociable; you'll probably have a line of guests who want to have their turn at being chef.

Buying good quality sausages and meat is key to a successful barby: if you’re willing to spend a bit more and go organic you will definitely see - and taste - the difference. If you want the meat to go round a large party it's easier to cook and works out better value to buy bigger joints.

Make an array of salads: the more the better. A huge pasta salad is simple to make and tastes delicious. Add salad and vegetables that are in season to make it a bright and colourful treat. Avocados, basil and bell peppers are ripe this time of the year. If pasta isn’t your thing or you want an alternative, a cous cous or potato salad will always go down well or you could try a chickpea, coriander and tomato option. Designed to resemble the Italian flag, a caprese salad is a delicious accompaniment: mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil and cracked black pepper is a winning combination.

Ditch the fizzy pop for mocktails and cocktails: they’ll cool you down and provide a refreshing respite to all of the food. Take loads of ice with you – if you’re heading to the beach make sure you pack your cool bag. Mojitos are a great summer time option.

Try grilling halloumi: if you’re hosting the BBQ in your garden this is a great one to try though it’s probably best done on a grill to save the equipment becoming very sticky! Halloumi kebabs with thyme and lemon are perfect served with warm pitta - guaranteed to keep the vegetarians and the meat eaters coming back for more.

Fish grilled on an open flame tastes great: whether it's Mackerel or trout, tuna steak or sea bass, your BBQ is the perfect opportunity to get your Omega three fix. Have some lemon and lime on the side to add flavour before serving.

If you’re hosting a BBQ in the garden get creative and decorate it with lanterns and fairy lights. As the evening draws in and the sun goes down your guests won’t want to leave. Blankets are a good idea if you’re planning to continue the party in to the early hours...

Spice up your plate with an array of exciting sauces and relishes: we love sriracha: it’s got a spicy kick without being over the top.

If you’ve got a big space then rally the troops and enjoy a game of cricket or rounders. What could be more quintessentially English? Though maybe do this before you eat to avoid indigestion!

We hope that gets you in the BBQ mood. Whether you join the nation this weekend or choose another date, you can request your pack from here here: and join the country in raising lots of cash which will fund research to help beat cancer sooner.

- By Emma Calway

Thursday, 10 July 2014

“When they see me on the streets, they say I am a street child, when they see me playing football, they say I am a person” by Emma Willis

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In light of the World Cup - currently dominating screens and column inches around the globe - the Makerble team thought about how the beautiful game can change lives - for the better.

In the shadows of the stadia where some of the world's richest footballers are playing this summer, life for many is a struggle against poverty, drugs and murder. In the wake of the World Cup, the new infrastructural developments and construction of stadia have left Brazilian taxpayers with a considerable bill. With protestors having limited political representation and the promise of economic gain taking precedent over the monetary and social costs for the poor, the slum dwellers can only hope the Brazilian government spend their profits on providing better education and health care. 
Brazil fans had been praying that their team would win the World Cup on home soil to erase the bitter memories of the 1950 final where they were beaten by Uruguay in the Maracana, but those dreams were shattered in Belo Horizonte this week as the hosts suffered the most humiliating defeat in their history.

It is now the responsibility of those passionate about football to explore the possibilities of utilising the beautiful game to benefit the entire community. The favelas hold a particular significance to the footballing culture in Brazil, big names in the game including Ronaldo, Zico and Romário all started out by playing football in the small shanty towns they called home. Jair Ventura Filho, better known as Jairzinho, is recognised for being the only player to score at every stage of the World Cup, but now he is a legend in the favelas for the free football training he offers to poor carioca youngsters, who are seeking escape through football.

This idea of providing an alternative for underprivileged children at risk of falling into organised crime has led to the creation of football based education projects all over Brazil. The Football Beyond Borders Legacy Project supported local families to provide accommodation to international fans during the World Cup, as well as organising a 'Favela World Cup' for residents of local communities to play against international fans. As a result, 40 young people from the community have reached a basic conversational level of English and £3000 of direct investment went into placing roads into the accommodation so tourists can continue to stay in the future.

Street Child World Cup
(in association with Save the Children) is a global movement for street children to receive the protection, rehabilitation and opportunities that all children are entitled to. In April 2014 over 230 former street children from 19 countries participated in a football tournament in Rio de Janeiro to promote the importance of children’s rights.

Favela Street
operating under the wings of IBISS) uses football as a tool to improve the communicative, organisational and social skills of ex-soldados who have turned their life around. Using a four-month program, these youngsters learn to become good sports coaches and act as role models for children of the project, who can only join in if they go to school. As a result of the Favela Street project, attendance in schools has risen from 40% to 98% since the program started, encouraging more children to make the right decisions and avoid the crimes that may have led to the death of their friends and family.

Young people who have suffered trauma, abuse or neglect lose touch with their instinctive and childish urge to hope, dream and express themselves. In every Favela there is always room for a football pitch, always space for a goal made from two flip flops, and always plenty to see for spectators with the power to change a child's life, for good.


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Our Ten Favourite Coffee Spots in West London

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At Makerble we love coffee. Not only because of its taste but because of the extra energy it gives us to help you change the world your way! Here are our ten favourite hangouts to drink coffee in West London:

1. Flatplanet, Carnaby Street

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Central London is full of coffee shops and around Regent Street you can find all the regular coffee chains such as Prét a Manager, Costa Coffee and Starbucks. If you are looking for something different, Flatplanet is it. Located around the corner from Carnaby Street, Flatplanet serves maybe central London’s best coffee as well as delicious food - served on their organic english spelt flatbread.

2. Cocomaya, Connaught Street

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Cocomaya has possibly everything you can ask for when looking for the perfect coffee place: friendly staff, gorgeous coffee cups plus enough sweets and pastries to make anyone forget about their diet. It also boasts a romantic outdoor space. You can find Cocomaya at a few different locations around London - our favourite is off Edgware Road on number 12 Connaught Street.

3. 202, Westbourne Grove

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If you are in Notting Hill and want to get away from a crowded Portobello Road, take a right into Westbourne Grove and you will find 202 and other coffee shops where the locals gather when they get a minute free. All dishes are organic and they have space both inside or outside where you can soak up the afternoon sun.

4. Lisa’s, Ladbroke Grove

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The Swedish owned kitchen and bar “Lisa’s” opened this year at the end of Portobello Road. Having a coffee break is such an important thing for the Swedes, they even have a word for it called “Fika” which basically means “to drink coffee/tea/” usually accompanied by something sweet. The owners of Lisa certainly knows what to takes for a pleasant “Fika” and how to make great coffee.

5. Bluebird, Chelsea

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Bluebird Café in Chelsea is one of our favourite coffee places (even though it for some strange reason it tends to attract more wine drinkers than coffee lovers!) - they serve amazing brunch and the place is always buzzing at the weekends; they also have a restaurant and bar upstairs and more seating inside.

6. Talkhouse Coffee, Notting Hill


At Talkhouse they know their coffee. It this was a list purely based on how good the coffee tastes, Talkhouse would be at number one. The place  is a perfect spot to checkout the latest fashion trends in the area, grab some lunch or just hang out to feel a little bit extra hip, young and trendy. You find Talkhouse on number 275 Portobello Road.

7. Jaks, Kings Road

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Everyone loves Jaks and it is not hard to see why. If you are looking for a place to hang out for hours you can get comfy in one of their sofas while ordering fresh juices, coffee, food or later on - if you still haven’t left - cocktails. This is Chelsea’s answer to the coffee shop “Central Perk” from Friends.

8. Joe and The Juice, Oxford Circus

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Joe & The Juice might be famous for their juices but they also serve amazing coffee. Our favourite Joe’s is near Oxford Street on number 281 Regent Street.

9. Radio Rooftop, Strand


Summer is coming up - the number one place to be on a sunny day is the terrace on top of Me Hotel by Strand. The tables overlook London and at the weekends you will find a mixed crowd enjoying daytime cocktails whilst listening to the latest house tunes.

10. The famous nespresso machine - What If Innovation


Fancy rooftops, organic coffee beans, sofas and pastries have nothing on What If’s nespresso machine - the Makerble team owe this creation a lot for getting us through the day and one step closer to the launch!

You love coffee
We love coffee
Let's share what we enjoy with the causes we care about in real life
On Makerble you can spend the price of a cup of coffee on projects that will show you what your Makerble Coffee achieved.
It's just one of the ways we help you change the world your way. 

Watch our video to find out how to Change The World YOUR Way


Friday, 28 February 2014

10 “CHIECO” FASHION WARRIORS by Sophia Parsons

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With fashion week having just passed, once again we have seen the industry face media scrutiny.
The whole process - from sourcing to manufacture - has been questioned and the ethics of fashion has been the subject of countless articles. This is not one of them. Although serious issues remain, it’s not all doom and gloom out there in the ever-evolving world of glamour. To restore your faith in clothing kind we bring you 10 “chieco” (pronounced chic-o) warriors that are changing the principles of fashion one garment at a time.
1) Stella McCartney An ardent animal rights campaigner, McCartney is the face of virtuous luxury fashion, creating clothes free of leather and fur. Her ‘eco-collection’ is comprised only of organic and recycled fabrics and uses low impact dyes. McCartney firmly believes that designers should completely avoid using animal products; a sentiment that she feels should also be applied to both the food and beauty industries.
2) ASOS Green Room Perhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest online shopping outlets is also adjusting its policies by taking the environment into account. The ASOS green Room is a platform “dedicated to collections with an ethical or eco-conscious story to tell.” The Green Room provides a glossary that explains why each product is regarded as an ethical or eco-conscious garment. Launched in 2010, the Green Room has been hugely successful, now housing some of the most talked about labels in sustainable fashion.
3) Blue Q Brothers Mitch and Seth Nash are the creative minds behind the label Blue Q. They make some fabulous environmentally friendly bags from 95% post consumer material. Furthermore, they don’t test on animals and neither do the manufacturers they work with. A clean sweep all round!
4) From Somewhere This is a designer brand that combines sustainable thinking with fashion forward design by working with “pre consumer surplus from the manufacturing houses and textile mills of the luxury fashion industry.” Although they describe their work as “exquisite rubbish” we couldn’t disagree more! Just check out this jumper:
5) Estethica Founded by the British Fashion Council, Estethica showcases the movement of designers committed to working sustainably, evolving to become the hub of the London ethical fashion industry. All Estethica designers must adhere to one of the three Estethica principles of fair-trade, ethical practices or use of organic and recycled materials.
6) Bottletop This is a little label, doing big things. Bottletop creates chic handbags out of... you guessed it, bottle tops! Bottletop are included under the Estethica tag for their contribution and commitment to sustainable fashion. Their products are created both by highly skilled artisans around the world and also by people that have been trained to make them, providing fair wages to families in the process.
7) Katrien Van Hecke Creating organic hand dyed and hand woven artisan garments, Van Hecke also possesses the Estethica tag. Her ideal clients are those who are aware of the unique workmanship that goes into her products.
8) Pachacuti This is a company that creates contemporary Panama hats through fair-trade production and promotion. Their mission is to “redress the inequalities in the global fashion industry through demonstrating that it is possible to run a successful retail and wholesale clothing business which benefits the producers and is environmentally friendly.”
9) EABURNS Specialising in high impact, modern statement accessories, this is a British brand that prides itself on both its style and green credentials. EABURNS recently introduced a range that is manufactured from 100% recycled silver and 18 carat gold vermeil (a metal made by coating a base of sterling silver with gold). They also source their leather from discarded scraps that other UK manufacturers find too small to be useful.
10) Lost Property of London Taking salvaged fabric, Lost Property of London transforms it into stylish yet practical accessories. Their ethos, to create stylish pieces that are kind to the environment, is strengthened by their commitment to only source vegetable tanned leather.
We hope that these ten “chieco” fashion warriors have given you a little more faith in fashion and have eased some of your grievances with the style world. What’s more is that this is just the tip of the iceberg, for environmentally conscious style is gaining momentum within the industry. Especially as a growing number of celebrities campaign against the use of fur, testing on animals and the impact of fast fashion. Although we cannot discount the issues within the fashion industry that we see so often in the media, it’s great to see companies taking a stand on issues that ultimately impact the whole planet.
Follow Sophia Parsons on Twitter here
Picture Sources: Stella McCartney ASOS Green Room ASOS Green Room Glossary Blue Q From Somewhere Estethica Bottletop Katrien Van Hecke Pachacuti EABURNS Lost Property of London