Woolacombe husband and wife receive award from the PM

North Devon Gazette

A husband-and-wife team from North Devon who founded the UK’s first not-for-profit clothing brand have received an award from the Prime Minister.Â

Alice and Tom Cracknell, from Woolacombe, were awarded the Points of Light award for the work of their social impact business Origin, on Friday, March 11, 2022.Â

Since its inception in 2019, Origin has funded eight social businesses across four African countries through the sale of ethical clothing.Â

With 100 per cent of its profits funding these projects, Origin has impacted around 5,000 people and created more than 70 sustainable jobs.Â

The couple launched Origin to offer an opportunity to local communities in low-income countries and support them in building sustainable enterprises that serve to address locally defined needs.

Before starting Origin, Alice worked as a business strategy consultant for a variety of international charities, and Tom works as a doctor in A&E.Â

So far projects funded by Origin’s profits include an entrepreneur who launched a cost-effective pioneering product to remotely teach individuals to learn to read and write in Bambara in Mali, an entrepreneur who launched his own energy efficient eco stoves business in The Gambia.Â

This year Origin will be continuing its work across the continent and investing in an ethical supply chain for organic rain fed cotton clothing in Kenya.Â

Origin places a huge emphasis on being transparent and ethical at every step, fighting the ‘fast fashion’ movement and championing sustainable fashion.Â

Tom and Alice said: "This is a real boost for us. As you can imagine, running a business that donates 100% of profits, there are added pressures on margins and sales so that we can achieve the purpose we set out to prove possible.Â

“Ethically produced clothing can be a force for good by generating opportunity and economic freedom in communities within Sub-Saharan Africa.Â

“Our African colleagues and partners inspire us to develop Origin every day and this recognition as a ‘Point of Light’ is a true psychological boost for our journey.Â

“This year we are setting up a pioneering new structure of supply chain with some wonderful social enterprises in Kenya so this award comes at a perfect time to boost the brand and all the important principles that our new supply chain will stand for. Thank you very much."Â

Congratulating Tom and Alice on their award, Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, said: “Fast fashion is a catastrophic contributor to global, environmental pollution. So, to produce clothing that is not only environmentally conscious, but to plough the profits back into community projects in Africa, while providing vital jobs is a truly, wonderful thing.Â

“Tom and Alice are a credit to North Devon, a credit to their industry, and for leading the way in the sustainable, not-for-profit, fashion business they thoroughly deserve this recognition.”Â

Tom and Alice are the 1880th and 1881st recipients of the Prime Minister’ Boris Johnson’s UK daily Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live.Â

Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements, including hundreds of volunteers who have been recognised for how they have served their communities through the Coronavirus pandemic.Â

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