Tackling child poverty, deforestation and domestic abuse, in the UK and Brazil, while focussing on women and children is the aim of The Caring Family Foundation and Annabel’s for The Amazon initiative
Words: Sophia Charalambous
When Patricia Caring decided to set up The Caring Family Foundation (TCFF) with husband Richard in 2019, 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 both Patricia and Richard knew they couldn’t sit back and watch the devastating impact.
Richard, who presides over a hospitality empire that includes Birley Clubs (Annabel’s, George) and The Ivy Collection, called upon staff and volunteers to help distribute over a million meals to NHS key workers and families as part of their Million and One Meals campaign. Then Food From The Heart and Amore Que Nutre campaigns both in the UK and Brazil were launched to feed children experiencing hunger; they’ve now surpassed over 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 over 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,” Patricia 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 and children is something very close to Patricia’s heart; she is a mother-of-four: “I cannot bear the thought of a child who wakes up every day not knowing if they will eat.
“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, 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 World Amazon Day, September 5, with 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 much of the décor 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 they are 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, that 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 result suffer with domestic abuse and hunger amongst 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.”