June 2020: What ELBA & our member companies have been up to during lockdown

 In Community, News

We’re into month 3 (or is it 4?) of lockdown, and whilst we’re seeing the priorities and needs of the community shift into longer-term strategy and planning around sustainability, the volume of requests for support we’re getting has not decreased at all! Have a read of how our member companies have engaged and supported the East London community this month:

ELBA hosted an interesting forum recently as part of the Reducing Social Isolation in Older People Programme. The forum took place with charities supporting older people in East London and 8 representatives from Aviva Foundation, Aviva Fellowship, Aviva UK Corporate Responsibility and Aviva Investors. Aviva were keen to facilitate dialogue to build their understanding of key issues and priorities for the older population to inform the development of  their social purpose work. The four community partners from Age UK, St Luke’s Over 50’s Club, Hackney Caribbean Elderly Association and Zacchaeus shared examples of the impact of COVID-19 on older people and the organisation’s services, and discussed longer term planning. It is hoped that ELBA can support future forums and workshops with Aviva to continue these discussions. It was very clear that COVID-19 has increased social isolation and the digital divide in the older population – the challenge set was how to collaboratively address this. Jeannet Lingan from the Aviva Foundation commented:

“This forum was important for us to connect with the experience of older people and will help us in our work to make a positive difference for our customers and communities. We are grateful to ELBA for facilitating this conversation”.

Accenture employees have been involved in lots of ELBA volunteering in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a volunteer raising nearly £600 with 26 supporters for the ELBA Virtual Food Drive; six volunteers from Accenture taking part in our telephone befriending calls with older people; and Accenture has delivered workshops to help students learn more about degrees and apprenticeships, as part of their TAG Roadshow. Plus, Hannah Mansour, Global Innovation Lead for Accenture Corporate Citizenship, recently joined the board of Eastside Educational Trust following BoardMatch9. Finally, representatives from the Accenture Accent on Gender (AoG) team ran a Virtual Career insight in Women in Technology with students from Years 7-10. 

CMS volunteers have been busy supporting ELBA on a range of tasks during COVID-19 and lockdown. Three volunteers brilliantly developed and delivered a remote Toolkit session on Government funded support during COVID-19 for charities and social enterprise. 14 representatives attended from the community, with the opportunity for Q&A at the end. CMS volunteers are also involved in supporting lots of school and university students remotely through ELBA, including mock interviews, CV reviews and LinkedIn reviews. Louise Starling, Corporate Responsibility Executive at CMS says:

“We’ve really appreciated having the ELBA remote volunteering opportunities to offer our staff during lockdown. From skills focused volunteering to virtual community activities it’s been great to see the continued commitment to our clients, our people and our communities via the Corporate Responsibility programme”.

Other companies who have committed more widely to support the community at this time include Barclays, who is committed to helping its customers, clients, colleagues, and the wider community deal with the current unprecedented medical and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, and in preparing for recovery in its aftermath. Among other measures, the bank has already made available free everyday banking and overdrafts to 650,000 small businesses, waived overdraft and other fees for customers, and is helping to implement the UK Government’s support schemes. They have established a COVID-19 Community Aid Package of £100 million to support charities working with vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19, and to alleviate the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisis.

Additionally, the Financial Ombudsman Service have enabled employees to work remotely for as long as is needed. The service are embedding flexible working which will support people to take part in volunteering programmes to support communities in a safe way, virtually. Employees are encouraged to share their activity with our Giving Something Back committee in collaboration with the other employee networks in the ombudsman service’s all-staff newsletter, which generated a high level of engagement on the theme of kindness during Mental Health Awareness Week in May.

A huge thank you again to all our member companies for their ongoing enthusiasm, creativity and engagement. It’s going to be a challenging few months ahead for local communities but we’re grateful to have such motivated companies and volunteers ready to lend a helping hand!

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