Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the concept that a business should not only support its clients and shareholders, but also seek to benefit the broader community in which it exists. The importance of CSR has grown in recent years as individuals and businesses have become more conscious of social and environmental issues such as climate change and human rights.
As a socially responsible company, we consciously strive to have a positive impact on society, the environment, and the economy. In 2020, we decided to set up an official in-house CSR Committee dedicated to social causes and supporting our community with our time, effort, and finances. Our Corporate Social Responsibility Policy details our commitment to protecting the environment, supporting our society, and operating ethically.
Each year the CSR Committee shares a list of proposed charities with our staff who vote for the charity they would like to receive SGWM’s support. Once decided, our committee comes up with various events for fundraising, volunteering, and awareness purposes. We’re honoured to be partnered with some amazing local charities and groups and during 2020-2021 we supported:
Additionally, each year our CSR Committee chooses a local artist to support and enter into a sponsorship agreement with. In November 2020, we chose Rick Bowden, a local photographer who specialises in landscape photography. You can see his stunning photographs of Norfolk and Suffolk throughout our website, in Vision magazine and on some of our other marketing communications.
During November 2020, we got on a health kick! We engaged the services of two fitness and lifestyle experts for a staff ‘Wellness Fortnight’ to keep our team’s brains and bodies healthy. The experts delivered various virtual sessions to our team, from yoga, meditation and nutrition talks to workouts suitable for all levels of fitness. Our team rose to the challenge and thoroughly enjoyed getting active, mindful, and trying out some new things!
Next came the 2020 festive period. Usually at Christmas we send out cards to our clients, and give out staff gift hampers, but we decided our money could be put to better use elsewhere and instead, we donated this money to The Benjamin Foundation.
Which brought us to 2021! In March, our wonderful colleagues Emma and Tina took part in the Benjamin Foundation’s ‘Big Winter Walk’, raising an amazing £335 for The Benjamin Foundation!
Then, between the 1 April and the 24 June, our team took part in the 5,000 Mile Challenge! Over 12 weeks our staff attempted to collectively cover 5,000 miles on foot or in the saddle- whether walking, jogging, cycling, or running- with every activity, however big or small, recorded towards our goal. Our aim with this challenge was for our colleagues to pull together, challenge ourselves to be more active and achieve our goal as a team. It was great fun (and hard work!), but we smashed it and covered 5,237 miles. (That’s almost as far as Mexico…..)
On May Bank Holiday, our IT Manager Jason and his daughter Jenny volunteered for the Benjamin Foundation at Stody Classic Vehicle Day, directing the hundreds of cars and thousands of people in attendance. As the Benjamin Foundation provided volunteers for the day, they were given a percentage of the day’s takings as thanks, resulting in a good donation!
Moving into summer and, in June, several members of our team took part in a volunteering day for Norfolk Wildlife Trust at New Buckenham Common. Our task involved helping the Breckland Reserves team to clear ragwort weed, whose poisonous qualities can be harmful to the cattle who graze there. Ryan, Mike, Asher, Steve, Sue, Helen, Ashley, Kim, and Sophie all got stuck in, and eventually left with a real sense of accomplishment having made a difference to a little patch of our beautiful countryside and local wildlife.
Then, in August, not only did we make a £300 donation to The Benjamin Foundation's Summer of Hope Appeal, but our PA Emma took part in their ‘Sit Up 67’ challenge - raising £172 by completing 67 sit ups a day - and Regulatory Compliance Officer Kim took part in the Grand East Anglian Run ‘GEAR 10K’ raising a brilliant £216 for the appeal!
During September, MD Stephen Girling and Client Services Support Asher Girling ran the Brighton Marathon, a tough course which it turned out overran by 568m…… as if a marathon wasn’t long enough! Their efforts were very much worth it however, as they raised a whopping £625 for the Benjamin Foundation.
The rugby season also kicked off again in September and, having already sponsored Ipswich Rugby Club for four years, we were delighted to become principal sponsor of the new Ipswich RFC Academy for the next three years. The Academy has been set up to maximise the potential of all Junior, Youth and Colts players from under 6 right through to 18 - and we look forward to watching how these young players develop!
October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, so to mark this, breast cancer charity ‘CoppaFeel’ did a presentation for our staff on checking for the signs of breast cancer.
Similarly, November was Testicular Cancer Awareness month, so we invited testicular cancer charity ‘It’s On The Ball’ to do a staff presentation for us on the importance of checking for abnormalities.
Also this year, all our staff received new laptops, so we decided to invite staff donations for the old end-of-life PCs, resulting in £697 being raised for The Benjamin Foundation - which was an incredible 365% of our original target!
Finally, we came to Christmas 2021 and on 16 December, our staff were invited to take part in a Christmas Jumper Day competition, where we donned our festive best and donated to the Benjamin Foundation. The very worthy winner was our Operational Support Manager Simon, who can be seen below with a big white Santa beard!
Additionally, we collected a large number of gifts to donate to the Benjamin Foundation’s gift appeal in lieu of sending Christmas cards.
Reflecting on the year’s CSR events and achievements, MD Stephen Girling said: ‘I am immensely proud of the CSR committee and all the team’s efforts. It’s so important to use our time and resources not only to benefit our clients, but the broader community too. We had some really memorable volunteering and fundraising excursions throughout last year, and I’m proud of each and every team member, every penny raised, and every hour put into these worthy causes. Our CSR committee are already buzzing with ideas for 2022, and I can’t wait to see what we can get stuck into next.’