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Six companies in the City of London that take CSR seriously

Together they represent 18,000 volunteers who have given more than 92,000 hours, creating £6m of value through volunteering. Meet the six companies in the City of London doing their bit.
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From opening up recruitment to overlooked groups to helping charities harness the power of bid data and improve funding streams, these six companies are the winners of the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, announced last night at a Mansion House ceremony. 

The Awards acknowledge the contribution made by London businesses and workers when it comes to sustainable and meaningful community engagement. 

Despite CSR first emerging several decades ago, a recent study showed it may be experiencing a resurgence in the capital. 

Over 50 per cent of workers under the age of 35 in London, say they have the desire to volunteer more, according to research by Cass Business School, In addition, more than a third want volunteer opportunities that match their skills and experience.

Here are the six City of London companies giving back to the community:

Barclays: Lord Mayor’s Award for Longstanding Achievement

Barclays won the award for its seven year partnership with Ian Mikardo High School in Tower Hamlets as part of its 5 million Young Futures campaign. 

Employees from Barclays provided mentoring, helping the 48 pupils boost their employability and enterprise skills. Barclays also funded a full time support worker to bring the community and the school closer together. The school was the subject of a Channel 5 documentary, Too tough to teach.

Alium Partners: Heart of the City Award for Best New Community Programme

Alium Partners, an SME and leading global recruiter of interim executives across the private and public sectors, won for its programme to engage young graduates in the Tower Hamlets who face barriers to employment. 

The volunteers worked with young candidates, helping them build their confidence through interview technique and CV writing sessions and advice on networking. 

As a result of the intervention, 50 per cent of the young people started employment after three months. Before engaging with the programme, many of the young people had sent countless CVs with no success.

London Wildfire Trust for their work with Mace Foundation: Winner of the Community Partners Award

London Wildlife Trust has partnered with the Mace Foundation since 2012, with the key aim to enhance access to green spaces to communities in socially deprived areas (including in Hackney, Lewisham and Lambeth, which fall into the top 10  per cent of the most deprived areas in England). 

Research from University of Glasgow has made a correlation between access to green spaces and a reduction in socioeconomic inequalities in mental well-being.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer: Winner of the Enterprise and Employment Award

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, a law firm with 2,500 lawyers, won for its Ready to Work programme, which provides work experience placements for ex-offenders to help them back into employment. 

As a result of its award winning work experience scheme, which offers work placements to ex-offenders within the firm, 52 per cent of candidates entered employment within a year and 80 per cent sustained employment for at least six months. Figures show that employment can reduce the likelihood of reoffending by up to 50 per cent.

IBM: Winner of the Education and Lifelong-learning Award

IBM won for its partnership with London Connected Learning Centre, in which it shared it technology expertise with primary school teachers, giving them confidence to teach the new computing curriculum. 

Using examples such as robot Chef Watson, IBM demonstrates coding skills and encourages computational thinking. The ultimate aim is to develop the next generation of digital pioneers.

Aimia: Winner of the Future Proofing Charities Award

Aimia, a data marketing and loyalty analytics company won for its Data Philanthropy programme. The scheme saw Aimia’s staff use their analytic skills to help charities across London understand their impact and improve their services. 

Over the past two years the company has supported more than 40 charities and donated more than 15,000 hours of pro bono analytic support, creating a sustainable solution to the sector’s critical lack of knowledge and expertise. The operator behind the Nectar card, worked with youth charities including Centrepoint and Place2Be, and helped charities unlock over £2m in funding

“These companies’ innovative contribution to our communities shows the immense value of CSR. In fact, we could not do without it,” said Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow, who presented the awards.

“Whether serving as mentors for school children, or accountants for charities – they are a fantastic example of corporate community engagement, and helping to build a fairer and more prosperous society.”

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