Sharing is Caring

Tackling child poverty, deforestation and domestic abuse in the UK and Brazil, while focusing on women and children, is the aim of The Caring Family Foundation and Annabel's for the Amazon

1 Sep 2023
4 min read

When Patricia Caring decided to set up The Caring Family Foundation with husband Richard, it was a response to the beginnings of the Covid pandemic.

“In Brazil, I was hearing stories from my friends of women dying and families suffering,” Patricia tells Mayfair Times. “The lockdown meant that women were trapped at home with their abusive partners and, as a result, 2,451 women were killed and there were 100,398 cases of rape reported. “At the same time in the UK, Covid was impacting all our lives and highlighting deprivation and child poverty across the country.”

It was a call to action, and Patricia and Richard knew they couldn’t sit back and watch the devastating impact.

Richard, who presides over a hospitality empire that includes the Birley Clubs (comprising Annabel’s, Mark’s Club and George among others) and the Ivy Collection, called upon staff and volunteers to help distribute more than a million meals to NHS key workers and families for the Million and One Meals campaign. Then the Food from the Heart and Amor que Nutre campaigns in the UK and Brazil were launched to feed children experiencing hunger; they’ve now surpassed two million meals.

In Brazil, they opened Bem Querer Mulher, a centre for women and children who are fleeing domestic violence; to date they have delivered more than 17,000 sessions of psychological support, legal and social services.

Patricia tells us the plan is to replicate this and open a community centre in London next year for women and children.

“According to recent statistics, approximately 4.2 million children in the UK are living in poverty, facing challenges in accessing necessities such as food, housing and education,” she explains. “However, in the UK people are generally less inclined to reach out for support. Mothers we’ve worked with often share feelings of embarrassment and shame and fear of stigma.”

Patricia tells us she takes lots of inspiration from women from indigenous tribes in Brazil, explaining how they are well-respected in their communities.

“Within the communities, men champion women in roles of responsibility and management, women hold the ancestral wisdom and language of communities and, most of all, women seem to be the change makers.”

Working women with children are a group of people very close to Patricia’s heart; she is a mother of four herself.

“I cannot bear the thought of a child who wakes up every day not knowing if they will eat,” she says.

“I know we can’t save the world, but if everyone does a little bit, then the world will be a better place and the urgency to address child poverty and offer these young lives a chance at a brighter future is undeniable.”

There is, of course, the environmental arm of the foundation too, and that’s where Annabel’s for the Amazon, held at the exclusive Mayfair club, comes into its own.

Each year the campaign is launched on Amazon Day on September 5, a global day of action on the Amazon. It includes a programme of events providing a platform for different voices to talk about issues affecting the Amazon.

Anyone who has been to Annabel’s will know that much of the decor is rainforest-inspired, from the palm trees and animals in the nightclub to the hand-painted flora and fauna glass murals in the Jungle bar.

This year will be the fourth year of Annabel’s for the Amazon and the club is welcoming two indigenous leaders, Sonia Guajajara and Txai Suruí, to speak further on the problems in the Amazon, culminating in the Amazon party later this month.

Working in these three areas does not come without its challenges, but it is the reforestation programme, in particular, which has proved the most complex.

“Navigating the ever-changing government laws in Brazil can be quite tricky,” says Patricia. “Our project in the Brazilian state of Acre is so remote that, in fact, many Brazilians joke that the region doesn’t exist!

“We deliberately chose the location for its lesser-known indigenous and local communities, who are harder to reach and, as a result, suffer with domestic abuse and hunger among their communities.

“We give them the tools to be able to survive and protect their lands to alleviate the pressures they face and the threat to their rainforest they call home.”

By Sophia Charalambous

Original Article Page 98-100

1 Sep 2023

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