BIG Alliance Approaches 10 Years of Creating Social Change in Islington

Above photo: The BIG Alliance team took part in Islington Giving’s Walk the Line event on the 24th September. From left to right, Jonathan Tait, Marija Mikne, Maria Tonchievici and Luke Brown.

Written by Jonathan Tait

BIG Alliance will celebrate its 10th Birthday next year!

Co-founded in 2012 by Islington Giving, Macquarie Group and the East London Business Alliance, BIG Alliance strengthens links between businesses and community organisations and educational institutions across Islington. ELBA’s expert understanding of corporate community investment and its tried and tested community programmes, married with Islington Giving’s knowledge of Islington, has made it possible to establish a robust infrastructure for businesses to get involved in doing good.

Each year, BIG Alliance draws on the time, skills and expertise of hundreds of employee volunteers to deliver projects and activities that create social change in Islington. Our Challenge activities help transform Islington’s places and spaces, our Connect projects provide consultancy and capacity building support for local community organisations and our Mentoring Works programme provides students of Islington’s schools, colleges and universities with insight into the world of work.

Islington is one of the most unequal places in the whole of the UK. A staggering 47.5% of primary school children in Islington live in poverty as well as 34% of the population over the age of 60. Islington residents face a range of associated challenges which you can find out more about here.

This year has been a busy one for the BIG Alliance Team and so, in advance of our 10th birthday, we thought that we would take the opportunity to look back over the progress that we have made over the past 12 months.

Staffing changes
This year, BIG Alliance welcomed three new team members. Jonathan Tait joined as BIG Alliance Programme Manager, overseeing all of BIG Alliance’s programmes, Maria Tonchievici took on the role of Mentoring Works Project Manager, managing the delivery of our education themed activities and Marija Mikne became the Community Development Project Coordinator, delivering capacity building activities for local community organisations. BIG Alliance stalwart, Luke Brown, now approaching five years with BIG Alliance, continues in his role as Community Development Project Manager, facilitating all of our Team Challenge activities. You can meet our team here

Projects and Activities
BIG Alliance continues to deliver a range of employer supported volunteering programmes activities which create opportunities for the local community. Here are just a few of the highlights from 2021:

  • The CoRe Programme, a collaboration between Macquarie, Slaughter and May, facilitated by BIG Alliance, saw 40 volunteers give over 1,100 hours of consultancy and capacity building support to 11 amazing local community organisations over a six-month period
  • A new Leaders In Partnership programme paired 12 Islington based Community Leaders with senior volunteers from BIG Alliance’s partner businesses, including 9 from MUFG, for 1-2-1 coaching/mentoring relationships
  • In May, the Euromonitor International Green Week saw over 50 volunteers work on practical projects that helped renovate a local green space and adventure playground
  • September was Expedia’s Month of Caring, during which, 300 volunteers participated in 23 different activities and over £5,000 worth of hygiene products and food were donated to local foodbanks
  • NHS Property Services took part in our brand new “Adopt an Adventure Playground” initiative, building new play apparatus at Crumbles Castle Adventure Playground.
  • Over 70 mentors from MUFG, Euromonitor International, Macquarie and Slaughter and May were trained and will soon be paired with year 10 students from 5 Islington based secondary schools

In total, over 800 volunteers have given more than 5,000 hours of their time in support of the Islington community since the start of the year.

New Businesses Partners
BIG Alliance were delighted to welcome SAGE Publishing and Howden Group Holdings to the alliance. Our current partners are: Macquarie, Slaughter and May, MUFG, Euromonitor, Expedia, NHS Property Services, Alexander Ash, Islington Council, SAGE Publishing, Howden Group Holdings. A huge thank you to each of those organisations for making our work possible.

Next year we will celebrate 10 years of BIG Alliance with a number of events and activities. We hope that you will join us in marking this milestone and looking forward to many more achievements in the years to come.

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