As the nation prepares to enter one of the most uncertain Christmases of recent times,  John Lewis and Waitrose will aim to harness the spirit and thoughtfulness of the Covid 19 pandemic and create an outpouring of kindness to help Britain’s struggling families. 

Motivated by the plight of so many who have found it difficult to provide for their families or are struggling to cope in a year like none other, the retailers are preparing to launch a major campaign next month to provide a lifeline for at least 100,000 families.

The initiative, which reflects the world in which we are living and will be complemented by the much anticipated Waitrose and John Lewis Christmas ad, will support two charities; FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty and Home-Start which works with parents who need support.  Together the two charities will provide food, comfort, emotional support and advice to vulnerable families.

A major appeal will be launched in November aiming to raise £5m for the charities. As well as financial giving, Waitrose and John Lewis want to shine a light on the long term need for kindness, in a country in which the pandemic will leave an indelible mark.

The two retailers will also be encouraging Partners and customers to spread kindness in their own communities  – everything from volunteering to a thoughtful gesture, not just over Christmas but beyond. This spirit of kindness will be brought to life in Waitrose and John Lewis shops with surprise acts of generosity towards customers.

Customers will be encouraged to support the campaign in one of five different ways:

  • making a charity donation which will be matched by the retailer to the value of £2m
  • buying one of a variety of exclusive and limited edition campaign products
  • shopping in one of the two retailers’ shops and using their My JL and My Waitrose loyalty card which will trigger a donation to the two charities
  • showing kindness to someone who needs it
  • helping in their local community.

A further fund of over £1m has also been created to ensure all of the retailers’ shops will be actively partnering with FareShare and Home-Start and a range of local disadvantaged family charities in the communities they serve.

The John Lewis Partnership recently stated its ambition to be a completely different kind of business, as a force for good. This year’s Christmas campaign will embody this principle and in a campaign that will be brought to life through a variety of channels.

Pippa Wicks, Executive Director of John Lewis & Partners, said: “In a year like no other, the world has changed – so we will be delivering a Christmas campaign like no other.

“During 2020 we’ve seen some inspiring and heartwarming acts of kindness throughout our country and our communities.

“Now we want to build on this spirit to create a legacy that extends well beyond Christmas. Together we can all make a big difference to the families who need our help most.”

James Bailey, Executive Director of Waitrose & Partners, said: “This year has created even greater inequality in society with a catastrophic effect on some of the most vulnerable, and we are determined to play our part in addressing this.

“Everyone has a right to nourishment and a safe, warm home and we believe that as a Partnership, we can be an enduring force for good, which lasts well beyond Christmas.

“We don’t just want to talk about it, we want every customer, community and Partner to show their kindness in supporting these causes.”

Peter Grigg, Chief Executive of Home-Start UK said:  “We have all seen first-hand how the pandemic is pushing families to the edge, especially those already facing challenges in their lives. Home-Start is there for families when they need us most and we have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown in our communities during the pandemic. But there is so much more to do. Working with John Lewis Partnership colleagues, customers and communities, we can reach more families and communities at this vital time. We are proud to be a partner in this exciting ambition to transform the lives of thousands of families and children this Christmas and beyond.”

Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive at FareShare, added: “In what has been an incredibly tough year for so many, more people than ever are turning to local charities and community groups for support because they simply can’t afford the food they need to feed their families and themselves. At FareShare, the demand for food has more than doubled as a result of the pandemic so this partnership comes at such a crucial time. We are so delighted to partner with Waitrose and John Lewis to provide support for the thousands of people in need across the UK in the run up to Christmas and over the winter months.”

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