We are a long term business and we constantly look at how we impact the communities where our employees live and work. Communities and businesses share huge areas of common interest so it’s vital that effective people are building solutions that provide social good.
Impacts on our communities
The economic background remains tough. Therefore we are proud that our employees continue to get involved in grass-roots projects supporting their local communities. We encourage our employees to be good corporate citizens, and aim to inspire them to believe they have a purpose and to recognise the skills they can use in the world around them.
How do we choose the charities we work with?
The main driver is our employees who choose which charities to support. By allowing our employees to choose their own charities we have been able to reach over 1,000 charities. In 2015 we introduced ‘time matching’ which enables staff to turn their volunteering time into cash for their charities. This has enabled a number of local community groups to obtain desperately needed funding to continue to service their communities. Our employees are at the heart of this.
We introduced ‘Pennies from Heaven’ and asked people to vote for the charity they wanted the funds to go to. This year Alzheimer’s Research UK was chosen.
Our commitment to social investment
In 2015 we continued to provide funding through our award winning SE-Assist a joint venture with Charities Aid Foundation. Our model has now moved into Wales offering a unique package of interest free loans and mentoring support.
We believe all companies can play a key role in accelerating the growth of this sector to understand emerging issues in society supporting regional job growth and ultimately hedge against business risks.
Our social investment fund joint venture with CAF bank is delivering social investments in Sussex, Croydon and Wales. From Ethical supermarkets, lunch clubs for older people, IT for charities, training mums back to work and helping the NHS understand family’s needs with dementia patients. Through this valuable investment over 70 jobs have been created, we have invested over £300,000 and provided mentoring to 15 businesses.
We value our employees time
Our commitment to our employees is supporting them to give them time off to volunteer during work, matching their fundraising or turning their own volunteering time into cash for charities. We don’t have a charity of the year, instead we support lots of different charities through nominations from employees for dress down days in each location, while continuing to engage with ‘Children in Need’, ‘Comic Relief’, ‘Text Santa’, ‘Macmillan coffee morning’, Breast and Prostate Cancer and various food collection charities.
Each of our locations has various employee ‘making a difference’ committees which help drive location involvement and the voice of employees.
Our community programme around our locations provides valuable expertise and money into community projects. We monitor community sentiment towards our offices via social media channels and through networks such as Business Class, Local Economic Networks with other businesses. All of our locations have a biodiversity and travel to work plan to limit our impact upon the environment for example cycle loans.
John Stewart our chairman hosted his last community awards before his retirement, attended by all the Group Board team. We had over 100 people nominated and 38 finalists were chosen to attend the awards in Coleman Street, including two from Maryland and one from Chicago.
The final special award for outstanding contribution went to John Stewart for his commitment to charities including being chairman for the Guide Dogs for the Blind for a number of years. His appreciation and understanding of the benefits that working with the charity sector can bring has enabled our SMART scheme (putting our leaders on boards of charities) to continue to grow as himself as sponsor.
Deliver a regional social investment programme in 3 major UK regions that grows social enterprise growth, impact and jobs creation.
Create £2m of value to the charity sector in the UK and £3m of value as a Group.