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The IKEA neighbourhoods approach

Hiliary Jenkins, Sustainability Business Partner at IKEA UK & Ireland

Hiliary Jenkins, Sustainability Business Partner at IKEA UK & Ireland | IKEA

3 min read Partner content

How IKEA is creating meaningful change in local communities across the UK

At IKEA we believe home is the most important place in the world. It is the place we begin and finish our days; and increasingly impacts everything in between. However, we also know that many people in the UK struggle to access a safe and secure home.

As a business founded 80 years ago to create a better everyday life for the many people, we have developed our IKEA Neighbourhoods Approach, which aims to support local communities through increasing access to better homes and opening pathways to decent employment.

As a part of our long-standing People and Planet Positive Strategy, the Approach helps us move beyond superficial actions and one-off donations to create long-term partnerships and enable positive change. We do this by leveraging our co-workers’ skills, passion, insights, and expertise around life at home, as well as using our amazing range and home furnishing solutions, with financial support, to add true value to our partnerships.

Last year we began a long-term partnership with Shelter. With over a million households on the social housing waiting lists and homelessness on the rise, the partnership focuses on fundraising, improving skills and awareness around housing among our co-workers and customers, delivering support for projects, and advocating for the construction of 90,000 new social homes a year by 2030 – as we believe this is the only meaningful solution to the housing crisis.

Last year, we worked together to highlight the rise in temporary accommodation, by recreating real-life room sets in IKEA stores, as well as at the Labour Conference in Liverpool. The room sets showed the appalling reality of temporary living spaces experienced by real families.

Photo of Ikea

Beyond Shelter, we are an activator for Homewards, the national homelessness project, launched by HRH The Prince of Wales, as well as members of the Early Years Taskforce set up by HRH The Princess of Wales. IKEA contributes skills and resources to create long-lasting change.

We also continue our programmes with the charity Barnardo’s, where last year almost 4,000 individuals engaged with our Life-Labs portal – a platform, co-created with care-experienced young people with tips on making a home with a limited budget. And as the number of refugees rises globally, we continue to create even more opportunities for displaced people to integrate and rebuild their lives through our long-standing refugee employment and skills programme UPPNÅ.

The value of our approach is best shown in how we enable co-workers to affect meaningful change locally, with our stores enabled and empowered to take on local projects and engagement, to deliver inclusive, resilient, and sustainable communities, wherever we work. Our Neighbourhoods Approach helps us to deliver the IKEA vision and create meaningful change across the UK. There are no limits on what businesses like ours can do to increase access to better homes, open pathways to more meaningful employment and enable the many people to participate in building a better, more inclusive society.

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Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

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