2020’s City Giving Day – A different, but successful one
Tuesday 22nd September marked the 6th annual City Giving Day; a City Giving Day unlike any other before. The annual event puts a spotlight on the City’s role in society and how corporate organisations are driving change, showcasing philanthropy, volunteering and other CSR achievements. ELBA has always engaged with City Giving Day, playing a vital role through recruiting volunteers and organising events for education and community partners.
This year, due to Covid-19, charities’ and community organisations’ need for support is greater than ever; use of food banks has risen dramatically, students have missed important in-person contact with tutors, maintenance of parks and public spaces has been put on hold and elderly people have not been able to come together to connect and meet with others.
Despite this year’s limitations on the usual in-person events, ELBA took on the challenge of re-engaging the City with our community.
Our employment team was invited to give insights on the impact COVID-19 has had on young people, and what employers can do to help them thrive during this time, highlighting opportunities for companies to improve youth unemployment. Discussions included a focus on the pros and cons of the governments Kickstart employment programme and the repurposing of apprenticeships to support school leavers and entry-level roles.
The Parity Project got involved in workshops led by Nomura’s EMBRACE team – the company’s employee-driven network that works to promote and celebrate racial and cultural diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
The Mentoring Works team delivered an interactive online training session for this year’s cohort of mentors. The session covered an overview of the adapted programme, mentor expectations and safeguarding protocol. This included break out rooms, activities and questions, allowing volunteers to share ideas and experiences with each other. It was encouraging to hear volunteers demonstrate their passion and enthusiasm to support our young people especially at a time they need it the most.
The Education team welcomed volunteers from Accenture and Ince Gordon Dadds LLP to support School 21’s Real World Learning programme. Volunteers took part in the Professional Encounters series to give an insight to their role and careers. This was a chance for students to ask questions to learn more about the companies, what the professionals do on a daily basis and what it is like to work there. The students showed great interest and asked some detailed questions around opportunities, challenges and the organisations’ diversity and inclusion agenda. The answers from the volunteers gave the students a real understanding of what solicitors at Ince actually do, as well as insights around the range of employment opportunities a tech consultancy such as Accenture offers, but also gave an insight to what their culture is like.
The Education Team also ran a Career Carousel workshop with students at Newham Collegiate Sixth Form (NCS) with volunteers from Standard Chartered sharing their insights into their career journeys and current roles at Standard Chartered, including finance, cyber security, CSR and communications.
Some quotes from NCS students included:
“I find it surprisingly reassuring how some people were unsure of what they wanted to do when they were our age and seem to be in a stable and supporting role.”
“Thank you for this opportunity! And thank you to all volunteers for giving up your time.”
The Challenge Team organised a letter writing opportunity over Zoom. 72 volunteers came together to write letters for the Forget Me Not Project, a memory café for people suffering from memory disorders. The letters will be included in the weekly care packages its 90 members have been receiving since the end of March and are a great way to personalise the care packages and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
And finally, the Connect team, who organise our business skills activities, ran two sessions: the first was a workshop on ‘Design thinking’, bringing together leaders from across the corporate and community sectors to learn together and from one another. The session was run as part of the Hackney East project, a collaborative partnership between Linklaters, UBS, Societe Generale and the Societe Generale UK Foundation, delivered by ELBA, and involved volunteers from all three companies. The second session was a ‘Strategic Solutions’ session, providing business planning and consultancy support to the community with volunteers from S&P Global. Community organisations received expert advice and ideas from the volunteers in addressing some of the strategic challenges and issues around sustainability they are facing as a result of COVID-19.
This year’s City Giving Day may have been challenging, but corporate organisations and volunteers have adapted and used their resources and influence to engage and drive impact and change in the community. City companies’ physical relationships with the area may have changed, but City Giving Day has reminded us all that the ties with the community remain.
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