Our Impact in 2023

The difference we made

Our impact in 2023

At Hubbub, we’re all about inspiring action that’s good for the environment and for everyone. This page summarises how we did that in 2023.

Our latest impact report is designed to be devoured in a single sitting: short, punchy, and packed full of stories and insights about how we worked towards that goal last year. You'll find a whole range of approaches, from innovative behaviour change trials to community-led regeneration projects; funding for grassroots action to thought-provoking communications. Each project aimed to prove public desire for bold environmental action, and to empower decision-makers to make it happen.

2023 also marked our tenth year of environmental action, and a year in which we were proud to be named Charity Times' "Charity of the Year". It's a testament to our team, partners, and board, and everyone who trusts us, takes risks with us, and uses their resources for change.

I hope the stories in these pages spark your imagination. Because this report isn’t just a record of what we’ve achieved in the last year; it’s a springboard for the impact we can create together in 2024 and beyond. So, scroll down to see the difference we made, find inspiration, and share your thoughts – we’d love to hear your ideas about what we do next.

Alex Robinson, Chief Executive, Hubbub

Our year in numbers

  •  We delivered 49 projects with 1,113 partners
  • Awarded £3.3 million to fund innovation and community action
  • Reached 3 in 10 18-34 year olds with our campaigns
  • Helped over 6m people think differently about an environmental issue, and over 700k take action on it

Scroll down to dip into our impact by topic or click the button below to read the full report.

Browse our impact by topic

“When I go outside and see someone, we say hello now. It’s brought the community together and we’re not out of sight out of mind, we’re all involved. Everyone is busy, but we take time to be together as a community”

- Breaking Ground community volunteer


The difference we made

  • Greener Communities Fund, our £1.2m grant fund, has enabled NHS charity members to create and improve green spaces in hospital grounds, healthcare centres and within communities. One pilot project showed a 25% increase in participating patients feelings of connectedness, and an 18% drop in anxiety.
  • Breaking Ground, a collection of projects around London that we support to co-create green spaces, with funding, mentorship, and guidance where it’s needed, has engaged 4,450 people so far and led to an increase in community cohesion and access to nature.
  • In Our Nature, our city-wide climate collaboration in Manchester, has supported 12 groups to set up climate action projects in their communities, aiming to enable over 1500 people to take action and learn new skills over the year.

In numbers: 27 new and enhanced community-led green spaces.

Want to work with Hubbub and help more people connect through nature?

“Partnering with Hubbub over the last two and a half years has been an absolute honour for The Co-op. With expert support and advice from Hubbub, the partnership is deepening the impact of each community fridge. Through investment from Co-op members, we have launched a fund to help community fridge hosts both survive the challenges of cost increases, and thrive, by developing engaging services that support communities to come together around food”.

- Ed Powell, Mission Manager, The Co-op

Two people stood next to an open fridge full of food at one of Hubbub's Community Fridges.

The difference we made

  • Eat Your Pumpkin! funded by Starbucks' 5p cup charge, grew it’s reach by 27% from the previous year. Over 9000 people attended community events where they decorated and ate pumpkins and our campaign messaging reached people 18 million times. Those who saw or heard our messaging were three times more likely to give their pumpkin a delicious second life than those who didn't. And overall, the number of pumpkins left uneaten reduced by 10 million – from 22.2m in 2022 down to 12.2 million at Halloween 2023.
  • The Community Fridge Network has seen rapid expansion across the UK thanks to our partnership with The Co-op saving over a million meals a month from going to waste, whilst sharing food and connecting communities. That’s about enough meals to fuel a small town, for a month, and it’s continuing to grow! We will build on our success over the next two years, aiming to deepen the impact of The Community Fridge Network through grant funding, networking, training and support.

In numbers: 7,861 tonnes of food diverted from all our food waste projects, equivalent to sharing over 18 million meals.

Interested in how we can work together to reduce on food waste or support sustainable diets?

The difference we made

In 2023, we tested a range of tools and methods to help people take stock of their wardrobes, find new ways to style unworn garments, and understand the value of their clothing. With our Off The Hanger campaign, we tested creative routes and messaging on social media – with the campaign garnering 1.8 million impressions. We now want to build upon the insight gained in this research phase and create a campaign that inspires young people to ‘shop’ their wardrobe rather than buying new.  

Looking after our clothes and making them last longer is one of the most impactful things we can do to reduce our fashion footprint. Hubbub, supported by Primark, worked with the University of Leeds to test whether there is a direct link between the cost of clothing and garment durability. The results were mixed: both high and lower cost brands performed both well and poorly across a range of everyday garments. The results demonstrated a need for better garment durability to give shoppers confidence that their clothes will last if well looked after. Using the evidence gathered through our partnership, Primark is leading the call for a sector-wide durability standard.

The results of the study received significant coverage – in total, there were 140 million opportunities to see or hear the campaign in the media. And the findings sparked a wave of debate, prompting You & Yours, the BBC’s consumer affairs show, to dedicate an entire programme to extending the life of clothes.

In numbers: 140 million opportunities to see the findings of our durability study in the media. 1.8 million impressions of our Off The Hanger campaign, on social media.

Want to work together on solutions for more responsible fashion?

"As a small dynamic business with impact at its core, we’re always looking at ways to push the boundaries of what’s possible, but often lack the resources. The grant gave us the bandwidth to innovate on product design and performance and spend time sourcing partners willing to switch up their current supply chains.” 

- DAME, Circular Future Fund grantee.

The difference we made

  • The Bring It Back Fund of £1.4 million fuelled six innovative projects across the UK in 2023, involving 100 businesses. So far, they’ve prevented over 200,000 single use items from going to landfill. The learnings around setting up and running successful re-use systems were published in January 2024. One of the funded projects was filmed and used by DEFRA as a case study as part of their communications to support the introduction of the ban on single use plastic items (1st October 2023).
  • The Circular Future Fund with John Lewis provided £1 million to spark solutions for a more circular economy and support innovative new products and services that make environmental behaviours easier for everyone. The fund tackled everyday challenges across textiles, household products, services and technology. The four funded projects have helped bring menstrual cups to the mainstream, redesigned kids’ shoes to let them grow with their wearers, built ‘lend and mend’ hubs in libraries, and pioneered research to develop infinite polyester recycling.

In numbers: We gave over £500k in grant funds, to support 10 innovative projects to create new products and services.

Interested in how you can work with Hubbub to fund innovation?

"I’ve honestly loved [the Big Ballot bins]. I take pictures of them all the time, I put them on my Twitter, and it always generates a bit of a conversation” 

- Southampton Resident

The difference we made

  • Ballot Bins have been tackling cigarette butt litter since 2016, by asking the big questions like "Ronaldo or Messi?" But could this voting-with-trash idea work for general waste? In 2023, with support from KFC, we unleashed the Big Ballot Bins in Manchester and Southampton. Punters voted with their rubbish on questions like Barbie vs Oppenheimer, while solar-powered electronic displays kept score. They were a hit. Brands like Heinz and the Archbishop of Banterbury made memes out of them, and even BBC News featured the bins. A nationwide poll showed 15% of people in the UK recognised the bins and independent studies found they reduced food and drink litter by 60-70% within a 20-meter radius.
  • The Bring It Back Fund of £1.4 million fuelled six innovative projects across the UK in 2023, involving 100 businesses. So far, they’ve prevented over 200,000 single use items from going to landfill. The learnings around setting up and running successful re-use systems were published in January 2024. One of the funded projects was filmed and used by DEFRA as a case study as part of their communications to support the introduction of the ban on single use plastic items (1st October 2023).

In numbers: 15% of the population saw a Big Ballot Bin – equivalent to 10 million people! Over 200,000 items of single-use packaging saved.

Interested in litter, reuse, or working with Hubbub?

"Having this smart tablet has opened up a world of possibilities for me. I have learned how to write and send emails, which has been instrumental in staying connected with different organisations."

- Tech Lending Community user

The difference we made

  • Community Calling with Virgin Media O2 joins the dots between the seven million digitally excluded people in the UK and the piles of tech going to waste. We source second-hand phones and tablets from the public and businesses and pass them to charities supporting survivors of domestic abuse, refugees, asylum seekers and those at risk of homelessness. In the last year, Community Calling sourced over 8,000 second-hand phones to rehome, and the Tech Lending Community enabled over 1,000 people to borrow devices, giving the tech a new life, and enabling people to connect with loved ones, access services and apply for jobs.
  • Time After Time, in partnership with Virgin Media O2, is all about raising awareness of e-waste among Gen-Z, an audience we know has low awareness of the issue. That's why we launched a TikTok campaign specifically designed to reach them. We used clear, simple messages, backed by facts, along with trending sounds and hashtags to connect e-waste to the things Gen-Z cares about. The campaign was a success, reaching its target audience over 1/5 million times, and making them 81% more likely to act on e-waste.

In numbers: 8,000 second hand phones sourced for rehoming. 1000+ people enabled to borrow a device.

Got ideas for how we can tackle e-waste?