Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The Vegan Compassion Group

The Vegan Compassion Group (VCG) was founded by Mark Gold in 2017, primarily as a retirement project after spells working for Compassion in World Farming and Animal Aid, the latter for more than 30 years, including 11 years as Director. Initially called the Living Without Cruelty Trust, the organisation changed its name in 2019 after obtaining charitable status. Their mission is to fund specific projects that demonstrate vegan compassion in action, including support for school feeding programmes in poorer countries, and support for refugees and homeless people in the UK.

Before the VCG was founded there had been two UK charities – Vegfam and HIPPO (Help International Plant Protein Organisation) – with comparable agendas, both providing food aid to those in need. For differing reasons both charities ceased to operate at roughly the same time, and VCG aimed to fill the gap. Mark Gold is responsible for the day-to-day running of the charity, with valuable support from two other trustees, Cath Sleigh and Sharon Howe, and other helpers.

Since 2019, VCG has supported several schemes in developing countries, including a school feeding programme in Ethiopia, demonstration vegetable gardens in Ugandan schools, feeding families and street dogs in Nepal, and planting olive trees in Gaza. Over the past year and a half, the group has helped support refugees and other victims of the war in Ukraine, partnering with the Vegan Kitchen of Ukraine, whose work is profiled in this 10-minute YouTube video. In July, VCG sponsored a second fundraising vegan festival in Ukraine (the first took place in Kyiv on 22 April 2023). The event raised roughly four times as much funds as their investment with the proceeds providing food parcels for vegans defending their country in the Ukrainian military and meals for refugees from the Russian invasion.

School Feeding Program in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of Vegan Compassion Group.

As a small charity, VCG is largely dependent on support from individual donors. As their website points out: “Whilst our projects are exclusively vegan, they are not exclusive to vegans!” You can donate to the Vegan Compassion Group through the Charities Aid Foundation using the link here.


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