Tea with one goal: to help refugees find work.

There’s only one thing better than great-tasting tea – and that’s when the tea gives back.

Nemi Teas is a social enterprise set up by Pranav Chopra, the brains behind Trampoline Cafe. Both of Pranav’s operations have one, singular focus: helping refugees find work through the power of sustainable (and delicious) tea.

Pranav first had the idea for Nemi Teas when hearing refugees tell him how hard it was to find a job. From unconscious biases surrounding appearance and accents, to degrees and work experience not being applicable between countries, it isn’t easy for people seeking sanctuary to find employment.

“I was literally like, man, these guys literally can’t break in,” Pranav tells Smiley News. “How are they ever going to break in if someone doesn’t just go ‘oh, you know what? We will give you a job full stop’. Because that will fall at one of the hurdles, right? The accent, the referee, no local experience something or other. The employers have an excuse to give it to a local.”

As a joke, Pranav registered a company – one that would employ refugees on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of their nationality, language skill, or experience. But eventually, he got the idea for Nemi Teas and it’s all thanks to chai.

Chai is a style of brewing tea from India – and Pranav realised that it was incredibly hard to find somewhere that sold traditionally made chai while living in London.

“I was like, You know what, no one’s doing it. I’m going to do it. And I want to set up these stalls in the markets,” explains Pranav. “The concept was basically; I’ll set up a school and I will hire refugees. So they can practise their English and they can get a UK company on their CV and all that stuff. It will serve both purposes.”

Today, you can purchase Nemi Teas, including chai, from their website and from restaurants, cafes and stockists all around the world. The packaging is 100% plastic-free, and their teabags are also biodegradable. They employ refugees living in Greater London, helping them to improve their English, earn money for their families, and get a local reference on their CVs.

Pranav also helped to set up Trampoline Cafe, with the same goals – to help refugees find work that will help transform their lives. 

“Post-Covid there is such a shortage of hospitality staff … and I was like, You know what, it’s perfect time to actually set up a training ground for refugees to enter the hospitality industry,” explains Pranav. “So no restaurant would say, ‘Oh, they don’t have experience set’ because we’ve trained them.

“So they come on board, they work for three to six months, and then we move them on – but our employment partners guarantee that they will provide them ongoing training, full-time jobs, all that stuff.”

Trampoline Cafe works with charity partners like Groundwork London, a community services charity that refers people to The Hotel School. At The Hotel School, the refugees are provided with a 10-12 week training programme that covers basic hospitality training and, by default, will help them to improve their language skills.

“Once they graduate from there, we hire them at Trampoline – or if we can’t, we’ve got a lot of employment partners through Nemi, because we supply our teams to over 600 clients now,” explains Pranav. “So that’s where we add value – either we hire themselves or we placed them into jobs.”

If you’re interested in supporting refugees as Pranav does, you can donate your time or your money to the British Red Cross.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities.


DJ raises £70k for Comic Relief

A Radio 1 DJ has started her Comic Relief fundraiser by DJing around the UK on a 10-person bike.

Sounds fun! Tell me more.

DJ Arielle Free is travelling through England on a 10-person bike, complete with DJ decks, performing as she goes to raise money for Comic Relief. 

The Tour de Dance sees her attempting to cycle 50 hours, across five cities in five days – and incredible feat!

So far she has raised £70,000, with listeners donating and encouraging her along the way. 

So far, Arielle has been to York, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester, and will finish up her route today, Thursday March 9th.

Congratulations, Arielle!

Find out how you can support her fundraiser here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


A dose of do-gooder businesses to inspire you

This week’s instalment of do-gooder businesses includes a couple of generous breweries, as well as an eco-friendly homeware business.

So kick back, open a cold one – and enjoy.


Cold Town Beer is an Edinburgh brewery with a philanthropic heart. Recently, they connected with Street Assist, an Edinburgh charity, and donated £2,000 to their cause to help keep people safe when they are out on the town. 

Plus, Cold Town Beer recently relaunched its charity brew, Doddie Beir, in memory of the late Doddie Weir. Since Doddie Beir’s release, Cold Town Beer has helped raise over £6,500 for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, supporting the lives of those affected by Motor Neuron Disease. This year, Cold Town Beer will be donating 20p from every pint of Doddie Beir sold.


Oxford-based craft brewery and social enterprise Tap Social Movement provides training and support for people in prison. Since they began in 2016 they have created nearly 70,000 hours of paid employment for incarcerated people. 94% of the people Tap works with from prison have not reoffended, in comparison to the national average of 50% – which is a pretty amazing statistic.


From Earth to Earth (also known as f.e.t.e) creates eco-friendly homeware products made from bamboo. From bamboo toothbrushes to personal care items and more, f.e.t.e has sustainability at the forefront of their business.

PLus, f.e.t.e is a proud a Corporate Sponsor of the Lawrence Anthony earth Organisation (LAEO), with around 2% of all f.e.t.e sales going directly to LAEO.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


Guide Dogs sees record number of volunteers

Guide dog volunteers have been coming in the thousands, as the national charity has seen a huge boost in interest.

Amazing! Tell me more.

The charity Guide Dogs has had more than 4,500 people apply to volunteer.

This “record number” of applications, the charity says, came after BBC Correspondent Sean Dilley told the story of his guide dog Sammy in September 2022.

Thankfully, this boost comes after the number of people with guide dogs in the UK plummeted post Covid – mainly because the charity is in dire need of foster carers to house dogs as they are trained.

So what changed?

After journalist Sean Dilley publicly opened up about his guide dog, people were touched by their relationship.

From here, Guide Dogs has seen a huge rise in the number of people coming forward to volunteer with their charity, enabling them to provide more people in need with the aid and companionship of a guide dog.

If you want to apply to volunteer with Guide Dogs, you can do so by going to their website. If you want to give back, but can’t commit to taking care of an animal, check out March’s Volunteering Opportunities, where there’s a role for everyone.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


How a 12-year-old became a CEO with social impact

You can never be too young to do the right thing… right?

There are stories all over of kids dropping everything to help raise money for something that matters to them – whether that be a charity or for a loved one. With the drive that only kids have, they can take on seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Alejandro Buxton is another one of those kids, starting his business Smell of Love Candles in 6th grade, and now is the CEO of his own company at the age of 12. He started making candles himself at nine so his mother could have candles she liked.

‘She gave me the inspiration’

“My asthma started acting up and my mom was really sensitive to smell and would get migraines,” Alejandro tells Smiley News. “After a while, we found out the candles were causing us the issues.

“So my mom threw away all the candles and was disappointed. I didn’t like that so I made her one, called Jurassic orange, which was my first candle and is also my favorite.

“In that, she gave me inspiration and start Smell of Love Candles and I really took a step from there.”

His mom, Patricia Buxton, experimented with making candles in the past and Alejandro wanted to learn from her. Candles were a kind of connective tissue for him and his mom. “We both really loved candles. It was a nighttime thing because we used to light a candle when we would read a bedtime story when I was younger,” Alejandro says.

Candles for the planet

Alejandro wanted to make sure the candles he made were all-natural, vegan, and hand-poured – that are ideally a lot better for you than standard mass-produced ones. “[They] are good for you, good for the environment and are socially responsible,” they write on their website.

The 12-year-old believes that we are “stronger when we take care of each other” so his company donates a portion of all its profits to charity every month – around 10% – with the goal of doing good with the good things that have come their way.

“I’m very proud of him,” his mum, Patricia, tells Smiley News.


Easter egg drive ensures no children go without

Just like Christmas, Easter is a time millions of kids all over the world get excited about the sweet treats bought to them by the Easter bunny (or their parents).

But not all children get that excitement. One UK business is trying to change that.

Tell me more.

11 Access Self Storage stores across the UK are urging their local communities to donate Easter Eggs in store for local charities. 

The company’s annual Easter Egg drive has seen more than 8000 chocolate eggs given to dozens of charities since it launched in 2011.

The Easter eggs go to benefit the stores’ local nominated charities so that everyone gets some chocolatey goodness this Easter.

The charities benefiting from this drive are The Children’s Adventure Farm, St George’s Hospital, The Hackney Food Bank, Victoria Drive Primary Pupil Referral Unit, The Salvation Army, Brent Foodbank, and Kids Can Achieve.

How can people get involved?

Staff have started collecting eggs and people are invited to bring donations into the stores until 31st March, ahead of the charity collection and distribution in time for Easter itself.

If you want to get involved, contact your local Access Self Storage for more information.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


3 businesses benefitting the children of our future

For our weekly business roundup this week, we’re taking a look at businesses that benefit kids.

Featuring books, mental health resources, and toy donations – this is a feel-good list you don’t want to miss.


Josie Dom became a children’s author in 2016, and from day one has donated 15% of profits from book sales to charity. In collaboration with Work for Good, which helps businesses donate in a legal and official capacity, Josie donates to Read for Good – a charity that gets books to underprivileged communities and into hospitals for children who stay there.

In 2021-2022, she pledged £300 and was able to donate £395 – and hopes to donate a similar amount for 2022-2023. She’s currently planning an initiative to give books away in the community and hopes to be able to volunteer as a reading partner for schools in the future.


Absolute Digital Media is an award-winning digital marketing agency, that love to give back. They have strong connections with charities and recently donated over £250 worth of toys to Southend Hospital in response to their campaign to collect toys to hand out on the ward and to those visiting for X-rays.

They have also fulfilled an Amazon wish list to support Dogs On The Streets, sponsored a local soup kitchen by providing a night’s worth of meals per month, participated in Tough Mudder, and donated to Chess Homeless Charity. They’ll be participating in the London Marathon this year, too. We love to see it!


After suffering from health anxiety from the age of six, Jenny Chesworth founded the Be Happy Hub, a mental health resource centre for children in the UK. When her own child began to show symptoms of anxiety, Jenny dedicated her life to making sure other children don’t grow up the same way as she did – by taking care of their anxiety from day dot.

The Be Happy Hub uses therapist-approved techniques, they make fun activities, worksheets and resources for children aged 0-11, and parents, and has a teen section launching in April 2023. They have over 500 resources that can help ease worries, teach coping mechanisms, explore emotions and much more.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


Danish Police spend time gaming to help teens

Danish Police have a team who spend their days gaming… all to help others.

Sorry, what?

That’s right – Denmark has a crack team dedicated to gaming online with teens and young people.

While this might sound like a questionable use of taxpayer funds, in actuality, they have a very important job – keeping kids safe online.

Tell me more.

Since April 2022, the Politiets Online Patrulje (Police Online Patrol) spend their days playing games like Counterstrike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, and Minecraft, which all have the option to connect, chat and play with strangers. 

They even have a Twitch – a popular streaming platform for gamers – as well as a Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube channel. They’re also pretty popular on TikTok!

So what do they actually do?

They keep an eye out for things like fraud and hate speech, as well as more sinister things like those who might be targeting children for grooming.

One thing’s for sure, people are certainly safer with these guys on the job – and if you’re looking for a giggle, check out their TikTok!

If you want to support keeping people safe online, get involved with the UK Safer Internet Centre.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.


Your monthly instalment of volunteering opportunities

Welcome to our first instalment of monthly volunteering opportunities by Smiley News.

This is where, on the first of every month, we’ll post a number of volunteering opportunities from across the UK.

This will include everything from in-person opportunities to remote work and micro-volunteering, to ensure there’s something that suits everyone. So, if you’re looking for a new way to give back – we’ve got you covered.

And if you’re a charity that has a volunteering opportunity or two to share, or if you have any questions, get in touch with us via email – [email protected]

In-Person Volunteering.

Guide Dogs UK – Guide Dogs UK is looking for foster carers for the guide dogs of the future. If you’re a dog lover but don’t have the free time for a pet, fostering a guide dog on evenings and weekends could be a good fit. Plus, Guide Dogs UK will pay for everything from food to vet bills – so you don’t have to spend a penny.

To apply for the role, visit the Guide Dogs UK website.

Festability – Kent’s accessible music festival is looking for volunteers to help the day run smoothly – a registered CIC run by three mums of disabled kids, Festability is sorely in need of volunteers. Any help you can give to make sure music is available to all will be greatly appreciated!

To apply as a volunteer, visit the Festability website and fill out the form so that someone can contact you further.

Young Lives vs Cancer – YLVC is looking for a number of in-person volunteers. From volunteering in their charity shops or lending your support at fundraising events, to helping at their Homes from Home where cancer patients and their families stay during treatment.

To apply for any of these roles, visit the Young Lives vs Cancer website, or email [email protected].  

Battersea – Battersea is looking for volunteers to become foster carers for dogs and cats who are currently living in their facilities, and help them to find a new, permanent home. The charity looking for applicants that live near one of its three centres in Battersea (London), Old Windsor (Berkshire) and Brands Hatch (Kent), or one of its community locations in Basingstoke, Guildford and Ashford.

Adult foster cats can be left for a working day. For kittens, no more than four hours daily. Time alone for foster dogs needs to be kept to a minimum. At the beginning of the foster period, dogs cannot be left at all, and the maximum daily leave time once settled is no more than four hours.

To apply to become a foster carer, or for another in-person role, visit the Battersea website.

Chickenshed – This inclusive theatre charity based in north London is looking for a myriad of volunteers, including front-of-house staff, admin roles, and assisting with sewing and other duties in wardrobe. Additionally, during the lead-up to Christmas, they’ll be looking for more volunteers backstage to help with the large Christmas show.

To apply for any of these roles, download the application form from the volunteer section on the Chickenshed website and send the completed application to [email protected].

Casualties Union – A charity dedicated to simulating casualty situations to provide emergency services and other organisations with the training they need, is looking for volunteers. If you’re into the arts, love acting, or just want to try out some gnarly stage makeup, this unique and, frankly, pretty fun volunteering opportunity is for you. 

There is no minimum requirement in terms of time commitment, though there are regular training sessions for volunteers that are helpful to attend.

To apply, you can email [email protected] or visit the Casualties Union website and use the contact form.

London LGBTQ+ Centre – The London LGBTQ+ Centre is looking for an information and resources volunteer to connect with different resources and groups and build a bank of relevant resources for the LGBTQ+ community. This can be done from home, or in person at the London LGBTQ+ Centre, and has no fixed hours, but is completely flexible based on the workload and needs of each volunteer.

To apply, visit the link on the London LGBTQ+ Centre website and fill out the form. If you have any questions, email them at [email protected]

The Lewis Foundation – This charity sources, packages and hand delivers gift packs for free to adult cancer patients. They are currently looking for a number of roles including an event photographer, a graphic designer and a video producer. The graphic design role can also be done remotely, while the others are only in person.

To apply, visit the Lewis Foundation website and fill out this form

Action Tutoring – Action Tutoring is an education charity helping disadvantaged young people improve their academic knowledge, grades, and confidence. They are looking for in-person and online tutors – in-school opportunities are available in Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Sussex. You will need to be available for one hour per week at the same time for around 10-20 weeks, to help your student keep up with their studies. 

To apply, visit the Action Tutoring website and fill out the online form. You will then be contacted for training and a DBS check.

Nottinghamshire Hospice – Nottinghamshire Hospice is a charity hospice looking to fill a number of volunteering roles. These are all in-person, and include a gardener, a retail assistant, and a trustee, as well as a whole load of other interesting roles.

To apply for any of these roles, visit the Nottinghamshire Hospice website, phone 0115 910 1008 and select option 4 or email [email protected]. To apply for the trustee role, email [email protected]

Rural Mental Health MattersRMHM is looking for a number of online and in-person volunteers, including fundraisers, bookkeepers, researchers and more. The roles have a lot of flexibility, with many only needing around an hour per week of work, or just helping out at irregular events.

To apply for any roles with Rural Mental Health Matters contact Melanie at [email protected]

Cats ProtectionCats Protection is looking for a number of different volunteers, though mainly they are in need of foster carers for the cats currently living in their centres. Cats Protection will pay for everything – all you need is room for a furry friend and some love to give. Other than that, they’re looking for volunteers in their shops, in branches and centres and across the UK.

Plus, they’re also looking for people to go out into schools and the local community and educate people about cats and their needs.

To apply for any roles with Cats Protection, visit this link to their volunteer page.

Integrate UKIntegrate UK are a Bristol-based youth charity that tackles many issues on gender and racism in schools and universities through workshops, talks, conferences and music videos/short films. They are looking for fundraising volunteers, both in person and online, to find people who are interested in donating to their charity.

To find out more about fundraising for Integrate UK, email [email protected] or call +44 (0) 117 907 2998.

EmmausEmmaus is looking for a large number of in-person volunteers, as well as those who can donate their time remotely. From trustees to retail volunteers, and gardeners to community cooks, there really is a role that applies to everyone’s skillset. So, if Emmaus is a charity you feel passionately about, take a look at their website and see which roles you are most suited to.

To apply for a role with Emmaus, visit this link to the volunteer page on their website.

PRIME Cymru for those based in Wales, this one is for you. PRIME Cymru is recruiting volunteer mentors to help support people aged 50+ to move closer to the world of work. They are looking for people who can use their own professional knowledge and experience to support others in employment or self-employment.

To apply for a mentor role, email [email protected] or telephone 01550 721813.

Carib EatsCarib Eats is a social enterprise that delivers Caribbean food to people in need across Hackney. Many of their recipients are lonely or isolated, so they also provide a regular friendly face and stop to talk and get to know those they work with. They are looking for people who can deliver food, as well as those who are happy to get stuck in with the cooking.

To apply for volunteer roles with Carib Eats, fill out this Google form and wait for a response.

Aurora Metro Arts and MediaAurora Metro Arts and Media is a charity based in Richmond-upon-Thames that champions diversity and equality through arts and educational projects. They are looking for volunteers for reading scripts, archive and cataloguing material, video editors for a range of projects, and general admin and bookkeeping. Some, though not all, of these roles can be filled remotely.

To apply for any of these roles, please email your CV to [email protected]

The Sheffield Cats Centre – one of the oldest surviving animal charities in the UK, the Sheffield Cats Centre is currently looking for volunteers for their at Ecclesall Road and Hillsborough Barracks. They are also looking for events and fundraising volunteers to represent the charity at events across the city.

To apply for any of these roles, send an email to [email protected]

Dementia Carers CountDCC is a charity that helps to support dementia carers across the UK, providing them with education and resources. They are looking for people to fundraise, deliver leaflets, share their stories with groups and the media, and campaign in person and online. The roles are varied, but all go towards supporting the charity.

To apply for any of these roles, go to this link on the Dementia Carers Count website and fill out the form.

WORTH – Based in Derbyshire, WORTH is a domestic abuse support charity providing provides long-term wellbeing and therapeutic support for women and their children. Though they are looking for a few other roles, they are mainly looking for ‘befrienders’ – someone who walks alongside a woman on her healing journey. Full in-house training will be provided for this.

To apply for any roles with WORTH, visit their website for more details, and then send your CV and a covering letter to [email protected]

Farm Africa Farm Africa is a charity reducing poverty by helping farmers in eastern Africa to grow more, sell more and sell for more. They are looking for volunteers to be Farm Africa’s cheer squad at the TCS London Marathon on Sunday 23 April. They’re seeking smiley, happy people with a good eye to spot runners in a crowd! This is only a four-hour, one-time commitment, plus a fun day out for the kids.

To apply, visit the Farm Africa website at this link and fill out the form.

Remote Volunteering.

Sense – Sense is looking for Virtual Buddies; volunteers who can meet online with disabled people once a week to chat and help combat loneliness. This is a completely remote position you can do from anywhere, as long as you can make a meeting once a week. Once you apply, Sense will match you with someone who has similar interests and give you some training.

To apply to be a Virtual Buddy visit the page on the Sense website or email [email protected]. This role requires an internet connection and one hour of your time per week.

Young Lives vs Cancer – there are plenty of remote opportunities with Young Lives vs Cancer available right now. They are looking for a fundraising researcher, to help create partnerships between YLvC and other organisations, a digital challenge champion.

To apply for any of these roles, visit the Young Lives vs Cancer website, or email [email protected] 

London LGBTQ Centre – The London LGBTQ centre is looking for an online events volunteer to help organise and run online groups and events based on their skills and interests. This can be done from home or remotely. The workload is flexible based on the needs of each volunteer, though they ask that you do a minimum of two hours per month.

To apply, visit this link on the London LGBTQ Centre website and fill out the form. If you have any questions, email them at [email protected]

Action Tutoring – Action Tutoring is looking for online and in-person tutors. You will need to be available for one hour per week at the same time for around 10-20 weeks, to help your student keep up with their studies. 

To apply, visit the Action Tutoring website and fill out the online form. You will then be contacted for training and a DBS check.

Rural Mental Health MattersRMHM is looking for a number of online and in-person volunteers, including fundraisers, bookkeepers, researchers and more! The roles have a lot of flexibility, with many only needing around an hour per week of work, or just helping out at irregular events.

To apply for any roles with Rural Mental Health Matters contact Melanie at [email protected]

Birth Trauma AssociationThe Birth Trauma Association is a charity which specifically offers support to parents who have a traumatic birthing experience. They are looking for people to take on the role of peer supporters. If anyone has recovered from the experience of a traumatic birth and would like to help others recover emotionally, the Birth Trauma Association would love to have your experience to help support people for 2-3 hours per week.

To apply for a peer support role, or find out about more ways you can help the Birth Trauma Association, email [email protected]

See Around BritainSee Around Britain is a nationwide, fully inclusive and interactive multilingual photographic app helping everyone to decide if a venue is suitable for their needs. They’re in need of remote volunteers around the country to take pictures of venues and their access facilities so people can decide if the venue is suitable to visit. They also need people to write venue descriptions, and volunteer their time for online and editorial support.

If you’re interested in helping See Around Britain, visit their website at this link to apply for any of the roles.

EmmausEmmaus is looking for a large number of remote volunteers, as well as standard in person roles. They are currently looking for online retail volunteers – think eBay style! – as well as online support, both of which can be done remotely.

To apply for a role with Emmaus, visit this link to the volunteer page on their website.


Young Lives vs Cancer – Young Lives vs Cancer is also looking for volunteers to do smaller roles that can fit better into busy lives – for example, they need a collection tin coordinator to make and use connections in their area and help find new places for collection tins.

To apply for any of these roles, visit the Young Lives vs Cancer website, or email [email protected] 

PostPalsPostPals is a charity that delivers letters, postcards and gifts to sick children and their siblings, and they are always looking for more people to get involved! It doesn’t take long to write a letter or draw a picture for a child, and the gesture goes a long way.

To get involved with PostPals, email them at [email protected]

FreeRiceThis one is cheating a little, but that’s okay because it’s all for a good cause! FreeRice is a website associated with UNWFP that has an online English vocabulary test that you can take. For every question you get right, ten grains of rice are donated to those who are going hungry!

To test your vocab skills, and give back at the same time, visit the FreeRice website

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnerships for the Goals.


Friends cycle 62 miles in the shape of Ukraine

A fundraising group have cycled the shape of Ukraine, in a bid to raise funds.

Sounds interesting.

A group of nine friends cycled 62 miles in the shape of Ukraine just after the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine invasion.

Maks Oberemokhas, 22, and his friends had already raised £22,000 for Ukraine with a half-marathon from Trowbridge to Bath, in March 2022.

They took on this new challenge on Sunday 26 February 2023 to help raise more funds to support those affected by the war.

Tell me more…

Maks, whose family are from the Ukrainian city Sumy just a few miles from the Russian border, is passionate about the cause – and has eight of his school pals to join him.

Though some of his family were able to flee and find UK sponsorship, he still has family members who are unable to leave Ukraine.

The group of friends began their route in Trowbridge, before heading in a loop that passes Frome, Warminster and Westbury, making the approximate shape of Ukraine.

The ride took around eight hours total, and they stopped every 15 miles so people could come out and support them. At the time of writing, the friends had raised £2,225 of their £5,000 goal.

If you are interested in giving to their fundraiser, you can still donate by following this link to their GoFundMe page.

If you want to help support the people of Ukraine in another way, you can give to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

This article aligns with the UN SDGs Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Partnership for the Goals.