A helping hand in Japan
In the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, many residents were experiencing financial difficulties due to unprecedented social and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Some were made redundant or had their working hours reduced, while others struggled to provide lunch for their children when schools were closed.
Together with Second Harvest, a nationwide food bank, Barclays served cooked meals and distributed dry rations to 20,000 households in Okinawa. This support helped the prefecture address the lack of food security — an issue heightened by the pandemic.
For childcare service Houkago NPO After School, a major concern was serving food to children during school closures following Japan’s ‘soft lockdown’. Barclays’ support enabled Houkago to distribute 30,000 hot meals to children of healthcare workers and 20,000 hot meals to other children at the childcare service. Moreover, Houkago was able to continue its essential services throughout the lockdown.
Barclays also partnered with the Central Community Chest of Japan, an organisation based in Tokyo that coordinates Community Chests in 47 prefectures. These local Community Chests address community issues, offering on-the-ground support even for those in the remotest areas. Through Barclays’ financial aid, the organisation mobilised paid staff and volunteers to serve those most in need as a result of the pandemic.
These efforts have been recognised by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, granting Barclays with the 2020 Responsible Business Award for “exceptional social programmes in Japan over the past 18 months”.
In 2021, Barclays is looking to refocus its efforts from relief to recovery, helping those who lost jobs because of the pandemic regain employment and supporting entrepreneurs who aim to solve environmental and social challenges.