2017 has been a brilliant year for Heart of the City and we were pleased to finish on a high today with our graduation event. We were delighted to welcome along our Newcomer companies, who have all completed our foundation programme to help develop their responsible business programmes.
The event was kicked off by Heart of the City’s Director, Sarah Mitchell and Deputy Chairman, Sushil Saluja who welcomed our Newcomers and congratulated them on their enormous efforts and commitment to developing their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.
Linda Wickstrom, Corporate Citizenship Manager at Accenture shared some insights from their corporate citizenship programme. Linda spoke about the need for a focussed strategy to ensure you are having the most impact possible and the importance of working with your community partners to really understand what they need and how to best direct your CSR efforts.
We also heard from Jonathan Arana-Morton, the founder of the Breakfast Club, and Eva Arnaiz, their Head of Charities and Communities, who have developed an award-winning volunteering programme. Their creative approach to volunteering helps to make their staff feel really proud of where they work. They support cookery workshops for homeless people and those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and host vulnerable group in their cafes to help tackle loneliness and isolation.
It was then over to our Newcomers for table discussions to share some of their key achievements and challenges over the course of 2017. From launching CSR committees, volunteer programmes and becoming accredited living wage employers – there was a huge amount to celebrate in the room.
We closed the event by asking our Newcomers to think about their key CSR goals for 2018 and presented certificates and ‘choc pops’ from the fantastic social enterprise, Harry Specters. A huge thank you again to Susan Winters at Baker McKenzie for hosting the event and to Marie Broad from SThree and Jan Phayre from Sapphire Systems – former Newcomers who joined the event to share their expertise. We now look forward to 2018 and having many of our 2017 Newcomers join us as Advanced members to further develop their programmes and achieve their CSR goals!