In 2022, our CSR team introduced a new initiative called impact days, allowing every team member to take up to two days paid leave each year to volunteer or support a charitable activity. Caroline Underhill, our Global Marketing Director and Head of CSR, explains how this has helped us focus on positively impacting our communities.
As a global business, with a long heritage, we’ve always been aware of the influence which we can have collectively. So, as well as our commitment to our clients, we’re also keen to explore ways in which we can positively impact our communities, wider society and the planet. And in establishing a CSR team, we were determined to evoke change around us.
From a corporate perspective we, like many firms, support a handful of chosen organisations each year which resonate with our purpose; to help people achieve financial freedom. We focus specifically on championing financial literacy and have partnered with the Money Awareness and Inclusion Awards (MAIA’s), SDI Academy in Singapore and Enrich in Hong Kong to help raise awareness of this issue and get involved in practical steps which create change.
But we were also keen to explore how we could empower our team to dedicate time and energy to particular charities and organisations which mean the most to them, in places where they feel they can make a positive difference. With eight offices throughout the UK, Europe, Dubai and Asia, we wanted to encourage our people to get involved with activities and initiatives in their local communities. In the past year, 53 impact days (paid volunteering days) have been completed by our team members. A few key themes have emerged, particularly for our teams in Worthing, Singapore and Dubai who have all undertaken beach cleans to help improve the coastline in their localities. For Worthing in particular, the beach is very much the central part of the local community and has a great deal of meaning to members of our team who live and work in the area.
With the festive period just behind us, some of our team recently connected with local charities to help support their food and gift collection programmes. In Singapore, a collective effort for a children’s cancer charity called LOVENILS saw the team raise over $1000 in donations, enabling them to purchase toys and gifts for some of the children and teenagers undergoing treatment or in hospital over Christmas. And in the UK, a few of the team worked with The Salvation Army in Worthing to prepare Christmas food parcels.
Poppy Whitbread, our Marketing Manager, volunteered at the South Liverpool Foodbank over Christmas where she spent the day helping in the warehouse to sort all the donations, before delivering orders to community centres and helping put together parcels for those in need.
Russell Delboy, from our investment team, used his impact day to volunteer at London cafe Nourish Hub who use food that otherwise would have been wasted to feed the local community. Food is collected from hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes and companies such as Hello Fresh, and used to provide a weekday lunch service and ad-hoc breakfast sessions for those homeless or in need. A delivery service is also offered for elderly people in the Borough, and weekly courses for children teach cooking and nutrition skills.
Our Hong Kong office also chose to support a food-based charity, getting involved in an initiative called The Missionaries of Charity-Home of Love. Since 1983, this operation in Sham Shui Po, one of the poorest districts in Hong Kong, has been serving the homeless with daily meals. The team helped prep and cook the meals before serving them to the local community.
After just a short period of time our impact days are already having a positive collective effect, and we look forward to sharing more about how our team chose to use their time through our LinkedIn page.