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CSR Consultancy ‘Hand in Glove’ with Pro Bono and Social Enterprise....

A Community perspective....

It is almost two years since I set up Engage CSR’as a Community Interest Company, to help SMEs develop a strategy to engage with their communities and to help them set up relationships with appropriate charities and community organisations. The initial process which I designed has worked well but as cases have been completed, necessarily changes have been made to continue to improve our work.

The project with the most successful outcome to date, has been with Kingscott Dix & Co. Ltd., a Gloucester City firm of accountants with 34 employees.  With an internal coordinator and five team leaders now in place to manage their volunteering (the company has agreed one day per month for all employees) the initial focus has been working with two charities:  Oaklands (the Camphill Village Trust) in the Forest of Dean offers young adults with learning difficulties a residential farming environment where they produce their own vegetables and fruit organically, and poultry and livestock with the objective of self-sufficiency and also to supply local businesses. They also have their own weaving, pottery and bakery.  The Cornerstone Centre in Cheltenham in a deprived area offers daily community care with a place for the isolated and lonely to get a hot drink or soup and to be able to talk to someone.  The volunteering therefore covers a variety of projects whether tilling the land, soup kitchen or communicating with the residents and visitors.  The effect on employee morale of working in teams in these environments through shared experiences and enhanced communication outside and inside the business has been significant.  And it is early days.

Working from the Gloucester Growth Hub (University and LEP) once a week has helped broadcast what Engage CSR is all about.  This has led to a significant pro bono project already 18 months old.  Approached to assist ‘The Venture’ (an adventure playground in the White City, a disadvantaged area of Gloucester City) has led to my taking a lead with the White City Community Action Group, the Diocese and the City Council to set out a plan to build a new community centre.  The Diocese of Gloucester will provide the seed corn funds of £200,000, and the Gloucester City Council a 120 year lease on a selected site. Two housing associations are also involved. As a founder member of the CIC I will be its first Chair. Our immediate task is to raise £1.6 million and work will start in earnest in 2017.

The White City Community CIC will operate as a social enterprise with optimal involvement and support from the local community.  To that end, regular meetings with and newsletters to, local people have been an integral part of our work since inception.

It is encouraging to be able to relate to the experience and expertise of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants, and I ask any member who can direct me to sources of funding (charitable) for this new community centre to contact me at:  

Engage CSR CIC, Apple Tree House, 3 Church Lane, Toddington, Gloucestershire, GL54 5DQ.  T: 01242 621041   E: drewe.lacey7@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

Assistant Drewe Lacey