These children, like some 100,000 in the UK, live in destitution because their parents immigration status denies them the safety net of our welfare system. In 2017, the Project’s founder Jane Williams first became aware of the plight of these children in her community. She sought help from the local authority. She was told by councillors, service providers and commissioners that they had no duty to look after these vulnerable children because they were not in the riht catchment area, they were not entitled to help, they were “not our children.” Jane couldn’t let this stand. She set up The Magpie Project to insist that – no matter what – every child has the right to support: they are all our children. A statement that inspired our SS21 Collection, ‘All Our Children’ – created in collaboration with the Magpie Project.
The Magpie Project provides a safe and fun place for mums and under-fives who are in temporary or insecure accommodation. With a range of support offered including – messy, indoor and outdoor play, art activities with a resident artist and nutritious food and drink. They help mums to get the advice and support they need by connecting them with local and national support systems including Shelter’s Housing Advisors. Whilst also supplying their families with the essentials to ensure they can live comfortably – nappies, children's clothing, food bank referrals and travel expenses.
“The level of destitution we see is difficult to imagine. Mums are having to choose between food and sanitary items. laundry and nappies are a constant worry for them. Many have been deemed to have no recourse to public funds - so are subsisting on £37 a week.” – The Magpie Project
Based in the London Borough of Newham, Magpie’s location is a reflection of the need in the area – according to Trust For London, the rate of households in temporary accommodation in Newham is the highest in London, with 48 per 1,000 households contrasting against 17 per 1,000 in London overall.
We have collaborated with The Magpie Project on two collections, AW20’s No Recourse to Public Funds and SS20 All Our Children – volunteering and running sessions with the families at Magpie, engaging them as part of the creative process through drawing workshops. As with every collection we produce, the partner charity from the season receives 20% of the profits from the sales of the collection.