CSR in the City - a New Year resolution - Business Works
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CSR in the City - a New Year resolution

by Noa Burger, Corporate Responsibility Project Manager, City of London Corporation At the start of the New Year, businesses should engage in year-round volunteering schemes with somewhat 'neglected' charity sectors, says Noa Burger, Corporate Responsibility Project Manager at the City of London Corporation.

Engaging in a personal volunteering plan is often a New Year’s resolution that people make across the country each January, but it’s the benefits that City businesses can bring to charities through specialised schemes that is most in demand.

Homelessness charities and those which support older people make up just nine per cent of all company volunteering support and while many City businesses in London volunteer with local charities around Christmas time, year-round charity support is still lacking in key areas.

Our new research found that most London businesses opt to support charities which focus on youth, education and raising children’s aspirations, due to the fact that young people are rightly seen as a 'future asset' and worth investing in.

However, with unemployment at seven per cent across the capital, increasing numbers of people are being forced out of their homes, as they are unable to meet soaring living costs, including mortgage repayments and rental costs. Homelessness charities cannot reach this growing challenge alone and are calling out to businesses to partner up with them and deliver mentoring programmes and skills workshops, which can help people back into the workplace and back into independent living.

Despite the support for homelessness charities, the rising numbers of people without a roof over their head mean the demand for such support still far out-strips the number of businesses responding. A strong skill set from a London business can really impact and further the benefits a charity can bring to its clients, as well as identifying areas for improvement.

There is a need for greater capacity building volunteering, which can make the most sustainable difference to charities as they 'upskill' their own staff and makes their process more robust, allowing them to focus on delivering the best outcomes to their users. This may be seen as less 'exciting' than working directly with beneficiaries, but it is gold dust to charities and business as usual to companies. Activities like this are repeatedly reported as the hardest for charities to market as the impacts on service users and beneficiaries are less obvious.

making an impact throughout 2014

As 2014 starts, we want businesses to 'gift their skills' as their company's giving gesture this New Year, but also to make this a New Year’s resolution and really commit to making an impact throughout 2014 where it’s most needed.

In response to the our City Action programme, and as demonstrated in 'Joining Forces', a good practice guide for corporate community partnerships, property giant Telereal Trillium partnered with homelessness charity Broadway to do just this through a unique partnership.

Telereal Trillium began the partnership to support Broadway in July 2013 when they agreed to a year-round funding scheme of an administrator as well as the delivery of a mentoring scheme, providing guidance and training to Broadway’s clients to aid the transition back into the work place. This demonstrates just how charities and businesses can share their resources and become more sustainable through joining forces.

This is a great example of how a business can share its resources and inject its skills into a charity, truly helping overlooked areas of society.

For more information about City Action and its work, please visit: www.city-action.org

To take a look at the toolkit, please visit: digital.edition-on.net/links/7495_cityoflondon_toolkit.asp

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