The relationship that companies in the Group have with local communities is important and is an essential part of the growth and sustainability for both the Group and the area.
Companies in the Group engage with the community as customers, neighbours, employees, residents and fellow business owners.
There are some simple but effective initiatives in place which support surrounding communities:
- Companies across the Group have long standing relationships with local job centres, talent and training resources
- Food is collected and distributed to local food banks
- A local catering company runs the food provision in the staff canteen
- The Group wide intranet facilitates a car share operation amongst staff
- Staff receive free fruit on Thursdays which is supplied by local, independent grocers
Staff are also provided with opportunities and are encouraged to be involved in community projects – be it on a fund raising, volunteering or mentor level.
Staff in Castle Keep Law and My Care Claim are involved in the Generation Project – a local organisation that works towards reducing the impact of isolation and loneliness amongst the elderly Wythenshawe community and offer pro bono legal advice to local start up enterprises.
Helping local business by promoting Staff Discounts
In our immediate area we work with a host of local businesses and retailers, that provide discounts and offers to staff across the Group, which in turn creates benefits for all parties involved. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- District Garage – discounts on servicing and repairs.
- Waterside Arts Centre, Sale – discounts on selected shows and exhibitions.
- ZipYard – staff discounts on tailoring and alterations.
- Nails Lu’kim Beautiful – discounts on nail treatment.
- Sports Direct Fitness – Subsidised staff gym membership.
- Offers at independent eateries and coffee houses including The Coffee House and The Slug and Lettuce in Sale.
Our Social Footprint
We estimate over £8,000 worth of volunteer time will be made available in the coming 12 months.
School and Education Projects
Recently the Group have reached out to schools and colleges locally volunteering our skills and expertise to help deliver financial education to future generations. The outcome we hope is that children and young adults understand the value of money and are better equipped to avoid financial problems in later life.
One in six young adults admit their debts have “spiralled out of control”, with three quarters of adults in their twenties admit to making money mistakes which can haunt them for years to come. (Source – Money Advice Service)
Manchester Health Academy
Manchester Health Academy is a Secondary School and 6th Form College in Wythenshawe, Manchester, specialising in Health and Sport Science.
Staff in the Group worked in partnership with literacy and numeracy departments to deliver a wellbeing session to year 10 students. During the day we asked them to consider affordable spending and lending. This short video tells the story of Bob who borrows money but can’t pay it back.
Trafford College is a further education college in Trafford, Manchester. As a member of Trafford College Local Advisory Board the Group and the College share the same talent pool. We are actively involved in a number of initiatives.
Five senior managers currently mentor students for the duration of their three year course. Staff help with the delivery of ‘masterclasses’ and work placement, apprenticeships and internship opportunities are all in the pipeline.
StepChange October 2014 “It costs the UK £8.3 billion through the damages caused by problem debt in areas such as family life, mental and physical health, productivity and employment prospects, costs to the welfare state and the NHS.”
Newall Green High School
Mentors from the Group helped to deliver the Mosaic Business Enterprise Challenge at Newall Green High School in Wythenshawe. Young entrepreneurs of the future are asked to consider what it means to create and run a successful and sustainable business. Following the session 50% of the students involved showed aspirations of being business owners.
Whilst also mentoring pupils in schools we also have two mentors helping ex offenders and their transition in to life outside of prison. The programme, which focuses on mentoring young Muslim men in prison, supports those aged 18 to 35 years approaching the end of their sentence. On a personal level, for those involved, this has been incredibly fulfilling.
Business in the Community (BITC)
Since August 2014 links with Business in the Community and their Connectors mean that even more partnership opportunities have become available for staff to be involved in.
Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, Business in the Community is about developing partnerships and skill sharing opportunities between business and the local community which can help innovate and create more sustainable livelihoods and prosperous communities, the focus being on education and employment.
Businesses add value by sharing skills, experience, time and know how, and in return BITC act as the catalysts in providing opportunities for staff to learn and grow. Staff receive training to become mentors, advisers and facilitators, providing great Continuous Personal Development (CPD) opportunities.
The outcome is a win win situation with local communities prospering and staff feeling more engaged, motivated, confident and valued.
In March 2015, the Group also became members of Business in the Community, further supporting this amazing and impactful charity.
Wythenshawe Community Network event
BIC and our local MP, Mike Kane helped facilitate an event in late 2014 which focused on creating a network for communities, their leaders and businesses in the local area to come together. The aim of the network is to provide access to support, advice, volunteers and expertise, ultimately for the benefit of the community.
Thrive is a partnership between Pulse Regeneration and Trafford Housing Trust delivering support to third sector organisations and communities.
We are supporting Thrive which is an initiative helping local businesses attain support and low cost advice which helps them grow and ultimately become self sustainable.
Castle Keep Law, our in house legal practice, offers pro bono legal advice to help local entrepreneurs address any legal issues they may be facing.
Manchester Credit Union
Manchester Credit Union (MCU) is a not-for-profit financial co-operative serving people who live or work in the local area. Credit unions exist solely to provide affordable financial services to their members.
One of the notable benefits staff in the Group have access to is MCU savings accounts and loans.
Around 9.24 million households have no savings, while a further 3.43 million have under £1,500. (Source- The Money Statistics, October 2014 – The Money Charity).
The Group have active links to local chambers of commerce and professional bodies, to ensure we maintain an active and sustainable relationship with business and community initiatives around us.