In 2015 we introduced our Community Investment Policy, with the intention of making our community investment more focused and strategic, where our financial support and the volunteering of skills and expertise from our employees could make the greatest impact.
A Charity Committee, comprising a cross section of employees, was established to oversee our charitable giving. Following a detailed review involving our employees, we decided to focus our community investment on supporting charities that help children and young people, the homeless and the disabled, in addition to supporting charities with military connections.
In FY 2015/16 Annington and its employees donated over £228,000 to charities, a 7x increase from FY 2014/15, comprised of £48,000 from employee fundraising and over £180,000 donated by the company. The majority of support was focused on five key charity partners in line with the new Policy: Bag Books, The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Blind Veterans UK, HighGround and The Ripple Pond. To help maximise the impact from these charity partnerships, Charity Champions have been appointed to work with the respective charities and engage fellow employees with fundraising and volunteering opportunities.
The Community Investment Policy has really engaged our employees and a large number of them have supported our charity partners and other good causes through fundraising activities and utilising their skills in a variety of volunteering activities. Under our Policy, Annington employees are able to take up to three paid days per year to volunteer with charities and community groups. In FY 2015/16 over 62% of employees volunteered their time with a number of our charity partners and other good causes, amounting to a total of 162 volunteering hours. The feedback we have had from those who have volunteered has been very positive. They believe they have benefited from giving back and working together as a team and the experiences have been very rewarding, giving them a new perspective.
|Bag Books||The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields|
|Helps young people with severe learning disabilities through creating multi-sensory books and running interactive storytelling sessions for these children utilising the books. Such storytelling sessions help these young people develop their awareness of people and events and develop their participation in group activities. Annington has committed to partner with the charity for three years and donated £25,000 in FY 2015/16 to enable Bag Books to visit an additional 30 schools, providing the multi-sensory books and delivering storytelling sessions to 956 severely disabled young people. Teachers who have provided feedback on these interactive story sessions say 99% of the young people have benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling and 89% of the teachers rated the overall experience 5 out of 5. Additionally, a group of Annington employees volunteered a day with the charity helping to build these multi-sensory books.||Provides facilities and support to homeless individuals in London helping them to get their lives back on track, find employment and to secure housing. Annington has agreed to support the charity for three years and donated £25,000 this year towards operational costs. Our employees also organised a ‘clothing drive’, donating 16 bags of much needed clothing and toiletries to the homeless and others organised and volunteered to take a group of homeless individuals to the Museum of London to help them connect with other individuals and reduce their isolation.|
|Blind Veterans UK||The Ripple Pond|
|Helps former servicemen and women who have become blind whether through active service, accident, injury, disease or old age. We have agreed to support the charity over three years, donating £25,000 each year to support a centre for rehabilitation and life skills for independent living at the Blind Veterans centre in Llandudno, Wales.||Organises self-help support networks across the UK for the adult family members of physically or emotionally injured service personnel and veterans. Annington was the charity’s cornerstone benefactor and we have agreed to support them for three years, donating £25,000 in FY 2015/16. Annington employees have also volunteered their skills, helping the charity with their business plan, providing accounting services and financial planning and identifying additional funding streams for the charity.|
|Reading Force||Other activity|
|Reading Force supports the social, emotional and mental wellbeing of Forces families through the experience of shared reading by providing free books and reading scrapbooks to members of the Forces and their families. The scheme also includes Veterans, Reservists and Former Forces partners and children. Annington is proud to support the tri-service charity with a sum of £75,000 over the next three years.
||In addition to supporting our five key charity partners, Annington has supported other good causes in areas where we work or have housing developments, through monetary or gift in-kind donations, often in conjunction with our contract partners. Our employees are also encouraged to support charities that they are passionate about, through fundraising and volunteering, with the company matching their fundraising efforts up to £1,000 per individual and £2,000 per team, per year.|