15 Dec Scarlet Thinkers: Lucy Williams
When I first heard what Lucy Williams was doing with Bags of Kindness, I was blown away. Now, with the project in its second year, I’m even more impressed with the amount of people and support Lucy has manage to accrue. She really is a Scarlet Thinker in my book (she’s also Scarlet Thinking’s photographer of choice for The Red Programme).
Lucy, tell us about your day job and what you do..
Hello! I’m a portrait photographer. I specialise in online dating photos, which I love doing and all sorts of headshots and portraits too. In the last couple of years I’ve photographed both Annie Lennox and Victoira Beckham as well as a whole variety of inspiring people. My passion is to have people experience themselves as amazing through photography and I love seeing people’s businesses thrive when they change their photos, or them getting loads of fantastic comments on their new social media portraits, and even finding love! You can find my site at http://www.myheartskipped.co.uk/
Now tell us about Bags of Kindness and what it actually does
Bags of Kindness is a project that I founded along with Kat Hill and Yolande De Vries (both photographers too) in 2015. The project inspires people to create bags full of useful items for vulnerable and homeless women.
How has it grown in the last 2 years?
Since 2015 we have become a vibrant community of people and this year we’ve tripled in size. Last year we had two London drop off points (where people take their bags) and this year we have 8 London drop off points and one in East Midlands. Each drop off point has generated interest in their area and we’ve been supported by individuals and companies to create a fantastic amount of bags. By Christmas we will have over 150 bags which we will gift to Crisis Women’s Christmas Drop In Centre, The Marylebone Project and St Mungos (Endell Street and Kings Cross). We’ve also had over £800 of donations via our Just Giving page. We are over the moon with the response we’ve had.
Where did you get the idea?
Last year we saw a project called The Rucksack Project and we were inspired! We started as two of us with some bags and we grew to over 100 people in the BOK community and we made 60 bags which we gave to women at one of their Christmas drop in centres.
How have you spread the word?
Facebook has been amazing and our community has grown from our FB group. Each drop off point organiser has spread the word amongst the people they know. And friends and friends of friends and friends of friends of friends (etc) have been busy sharing and inspiring people! Some of us have also posted on local forums like Streetlife, and the response has been fantastic.
How can people get involved or support you?
Join the FB group ready to be involved next year! https://www.facebook.com/groups/bagsofkindness/ Or donate: www.justgiving.com/
What advice would you give someone trying to set up an initiative like this themselves?
Have a focus on who you want to help and why.
Set up a FB group and start sharing. Ask all of your friends to share too. FB is a wonderful medium for raising awareness and getting people to join in.
Set up a Just Giving page (if you’d like to have cash donations).
Be bold and clear in what you want people to do and request it powerfully with a call to action.
Share your results via your growing community. People will love to see what you are achieving and will be inspired to be part of it!