The Lord Mayor traces the 25 year development of Corporate Community Involvement - Business Works
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The Lord Mayor traces the 25 year development of Corporate Community Involvement

David Wootton, Lord Mayor of London and Bruce Pinto-Jaco At the launch of the Dragon Awards, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, David Wootton, revealed how Corporate Community Involvement (CCI) has been transformed since 1987 to become a vital ingredient in the future of the charitable sector.

Applications are open to the Lord Mayor’s 25th Dragon Awards, spearheaded by the City of London Corporation. Celebrating meaningful CCI, the Dragon Awards this year feature those businesses and community organisations in Greater London which continue to boost local regeneration – even in tough times.

Five key CCI milestones since the Dragon Awards were founded 25 years ago were identified in a survey compiled by the City of London Corporation:

  1. CCI has become increasingly widespread with community affairs divisions emerging to manage corporate community partnerships
  2. Small businesses are today more engaged in CCI as these enterprises realise the valuable contribution they can make even with limited staff and resources
  3. Corporate community partnerships are increasingly long-term to maximise the investment and impact of both the charity and business
  4. Businesses have developed sophisticated skills-based employee volunteering programmes to help meet a new aim – to equip charitable organisations with the necessary skills to become sustainable in the long-term
  5. A greater focus on impact as businesses need to justify their community investment, particularly in this challenged economy

Lord Mayor of the City of London, David Wootton, says, "Partnerships of businesses and community organisations, working together on important social and economic regeneration projects in their local area, are vital to the development and overall wellbeing of our society. I therefore urge businesses – big or small, from all parts of the Greater London area and from all walks of life – to come forward and showcase the important work they have done in their local communities."

Construction company Lakehouse, last year’s winner of the Economic Regeneration Award, illustrates this evolution of a Community Interest Company. The firm helped to establish the Building Lives Training Academy which delivers a structured construction training programme to marginalised groups and guarantees graduates a job by working in partnership with a consortium of employers. Critically, trainees are given a valuable skill to enable them to support themselves. By utilising this model, Lakehouse has doubled the number of apprentices that it recruits.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, says, "The last 15 years were a golden age for the voluntary sector as it doubled in size but it’s now shrinking – 10% of the sector’s workforce was lost last year and volunteering has flat-lined against a backdrop of tough cutbacks. The relationship between corporates and charities continues to grow in importance as the voluntary sectors finds new ways of doing things. Businesses’ inherent skills will become ever more important as charities seek their support to deliver vital services."

"I’ve been unemployed and homeless so I know how important it is to have qualifications and training behind you," says David Anyan, 25 years and a student at Lakehouse’s Building Lives Academy. "Lakehouse’s Building Lives Academy has given me knowledge of the construction industry and skills so I can work and support myself. While training with Lakehouse, I even helped build my new home which I’ll be moving into this month, which is an amazing feeling."

Sir David Rowe-Ham, who founded the Dragon Awards when he was Lord Mayor, commented, "The Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards were launched in 1987 to demonstrate that the City was, and how it was, supporting its neighbouring boroughs. The Dragon Awards have undoubtedly contributed to the growth of Corporate Community Involvement, helped by the added element of competition, and this is demonstrated by the awards themselves increasing in size. But no one thought in 1987 that the Dragon Awards would be as big as they have become, now they recognise a huge number of businesses across Greater London, small and large."

Applications for the Dragon Awards are now open and can be submitted online for all the award categories at The closing date is 28 May 2012 and winners will be announced at the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards gala ceremony at Mansion House in the City of London on 3 October 2012.

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