Burberry Foundation awards 3 million pound grant to Oxfam

London - The Burberry Foundation has awarded a 3 million pounds grant to Oxfam to support community cohesion and help struggling families in Florence, Italy.

The grant aims to build on work currently underway in the country by Oxfam Italia, as the Florentine area, which is renowned for its garments and luxury leather goods production, has seen a declined in these established industries. Over the past few years, these sectors of craftsmanship have come under threat as the region faces increasing levels of poverty, youth unemployment and economic migration.

Together with Oxfam, the Burberry Foundation aims to improve integration between Italian and migrant communities in the Florentine region by developing new and expanding existing community centres. The programme, which will run until 2022, will help community centres provide support and access to anyone in need while hosting educational activities, Italian language classes and more.

“We are proud to be supporting Oxfam’s work in the region of Tuscany,” said Leanne Wood, a trustee of The Burberry Foundation and Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer at Burberry Group. “Their investment in community centres and educational programmes are vital in helping the local communities, who play such a vital role in the luxury and fashion industries, come together and have the tools to build a bright and prosperous future.”

Support from the Burberry grant will also support in-school workshops and mentoring programmes launched by Oxfam to improve skills development, enhance employability and equip parents, teachers and educators with the needed tools to support young people who have difficulties at school. “Poverty and social exclusion are huge problems in Italy, with one in four people at risk,” said Roberto Barbieri, Executive Director of Oxfam Italia.

“One person in 13 lives in absolute poverty. This means they do not have enough food, heating or proper clothes. We are talking about 4.74 million people, and the young are particularly badly affected. This worrying situation in clear to see in the Florence region, where one young person in three between the ages of 15 and 24 does not have a job. Lack of access to community services including healthcare, education and training are common.”

“Without this practical intervention, like skills training, counselling, childcare, language classes, homework clubs and financial advice, their circumstances are likely to get worse,” added Barbieri. ”Oxfam is extremely grateful to The Burberry Foundation for its considerable investment. The programme, developed with Oxfam’s expertise, will particularly focus on supporting younger people, whatever their background, to bring brighter, fairer, futures for everyone.”

The grant awarded by Burberry sits in line with the Group’s responsibility agenda to support one million people in the communities that sustain the wider luxury industry.

Photo: Courtesy of Burberry