Ian runs the Umbrella Fair Organisation, a Northampton based community co-operative that promotes sustainable living, environmental awareness and community cooperation. Before lockdown, they hosted a whole range of ventures including arts and crafts, social activities, a cycle recycling project and a café. A primary ethos of theirs is ‘to make people feel valued, valuable and part of a community,’ principles that The McCarthy-Dixon Foundation also share.
Many of the UFO’s volunteers are local people who are isolated or vulnerable due to health conditions, learning difficulties or socio-economic factors. During the COVID-19 lockdown, The McCarthy-Dixon Foundation provided food bags for some of the UFOs volunteers and Ian speaks about what this meant to them:
“10 of our volunteers who were isolated and vulnerable each received a food parcel at some point during the lockdown. They really valued not only the food in the packages, but the fact that they were being looked after and kept in touch with. Lots of them are on a low-income and so it relieved financial pressure from them. They were also grateful that they didn’t need to leave the house and put themselves at risk of the virus.”