Lord Mayor encourages business leaders to get involved in volunteering
London’s Lord Mayor Michael Bear has called upon 250 of the Capital’s business heads gathered at the prestigious Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards dinner held last Tuesday (September 20) to get directly involved in volunteering initiatives in the belief that this will revolutionise the impact of community involvement and positively influence business culture in the long-run.
As he announced the inspirational winners of the Capital’s most esteemed Community Engagement awards that recognise the work of entrants who this year alone have helped over 90,000 people, Lord Mayor Michael Bear applauded the efforts of business leaders present and, driven by his own experiences of how this can work, highlighted the benefits of encouraging quality involvement from the top down.
Lord Mayor Michael Bear said, “While entry-level and support staff form an integral part of the process, involvement from senior members is extremely valuable; it ensures that the skill spectrum provided is wide enough to meet any issue at hand. Here at the City of London Corporation, we practice what we preach and ensure that senior staff, including myself, confront social issues directly by offering our skills to those who need it. Strong leadership sets a good example and is a rewarding way in which to deliver significant, high impact initiatives.”
The 2011 Dragon Awards, now in their 24th year award business CSR programmes in six categories for their social contributions which benefit not only community organisations but also, through increased staff morale and reputational benefit, the businesses as well.
A wide range of entrants included the likes of global bank UBS, right through to Islington-based St Luke’s Trust. This year, winners ranged from banking giant Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who initiated a scheme in Tower Hamlets to develop business awareness and financial literacy of 12-15-year olds in the area, to smaller organisations such as Lakehouse who created training and employment for disadvantaged individuals through their ‘Building Lives Training Academy’.
Lord Mayor Michael Bear said: “This year’s entrants to the Dragon Awards have created over 5,000 work opportunities in the capital and contributed over 12,500 days of volunteering. The quality of each entrant has been undoubtedly strong and in every way impressive, with initiatives undertaken by Catlin Underwriting with St Paul’s Way Trust School offering prime examples of how effective volunteering can be when applied from all levels.”
Catlin Underwriting Agencies Ltd won the ‘Heart of the City Award’ for their work with St Paul’s Way Trust School in Hackney. Recognising that the school was achieving some of the most disappointing examination results in the area, Catlin Underwriting looked to develop a partnership opportunity with them and, in just a matter of months, St Paul’s Way was transformed by skilled volunteers across a number of levels – from receptionist training to senior level representatives on the Governing Body – to become one of the area’s most prized local schools.
Grahame Price, Headmaster of St Paul’s Way Trust, says, “The transformation of St Paul’s Way Trust School has been an innovative partnership which could lay the foundations of an exemplary third sector business model. Without Catlin’s dynamic support our work would have been quantifiably less successful; this is a partnership that has made a real difference. If such a vast improvement can take place in such a small amount of time, the further embedding of Corporate Community Involvement could dramatically improve not only local communities, but mainstream business culture too.”
2011 Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award winners
Education Award: Bank of America Merrill Lunch
Economic Regeneration Award: Lakehouse
Social Inclusion Award: ISG
Community Partners Award: St Luke’s Trust
Heart of the City Award: Catlin Underwriting Agencies Ltd: eFinancialCareers
Lord Mayor’s Award: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP