News: volunteering Dec 2000

December 01, 2000

Businesses challenged to join active communities

To mark the International Year of Volunteering in 2001, the UK government is asking businesses to give all employees one day’s paid time off before October 2001 to volunteer. The request was made at the launch of the new Active Community grants programme on October 16, part of an additional £15 million over the next three years to organisations promoting voluntary and community work. Contact John Marshall, ACU, on 020 7217 8565 (

Sainsbury’s has a heart

Sainsbury’s Charity of the Year for 2001 will be the British Heart Foundation, with employees being encouraged to join store-based fundraising and individual challenges in support of the Take Heart-Take Part campaign. Sainsbury’s has also announced that its payroll giving scheme, Thanks a Million, now has 7,000 members taking part and has raised £1.5 million over the past four years. Contact Sue Mercer, J Sainsbury, on 020 7695 6000 (

Marks and Spencer praise staff

Marks & Spencer held its first annual Employee Volunteer Awards on October 5 to recognise the spare time staff give to help their local communities. With both individual and group awards, staff in Lisburn were named ‘most committed’ having organised M&S’s six stores in Northern Island to raise £46,000 – a figure which the retailer matched – to fund the country’s first ChildLine service. Contact Juliet Curley, M&S, on 020 7268 4502

Helping Children avoid poverty

The government wants business to play a central part in its latest initiative to rescue children from poverty, ignorance and crime. Announcing a £450 million children’s fund on November 15, Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, appealed for “a practical day-to-day partnership of parents, communities, professionals and voluntary organisations”. Professional adults are being asked to volunteer as mentors to individual children at risk, to pass on their skills and to set up, or help with, out-of school activities. Contact Treasury on 020 7270 5188 (

Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 55 – December, 2000

News: regeneration

December 01 2000

by Briefing team

Incentives for companies to invest

Companies investing in the community development of deprived areas could gain from a raft of new incentives endorsed by Stephen Timms MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, on November 28. Among ideas suggested by the Social Investment Task Force, headed by Ronald Cohen, chairman of Apex Partners & Co, are:

• a five percent community tax credit, which could raise as much as £50 million a year and lever a further £1 billion investment over five years;

• £100 million in matched funding from the government; and

• increased support for community development financial institutions.

The report was initially presented to the Chancellor, Gordon Brown MP, on October 24, who commissioned the Task Force to assess the role of finance in community development. Contact Penny Shepherd, UKSIF, on 020 7749 4884 (


Centrica and the New Statesman magazine have joined forces to sponsor the UpStarts Awards, aiming to support social entrepreneurs – defined as “individuals with a vital force for regenerating their communities” – in getting projects off the ground. The three winners will receive not only a cash award but also support and mentoring from UNLTD, a foundation specifically designed to help social entrepreneurs. Contact Simon Henderson, Centrica, on 01753 758453 (

Innovative employment from Newcastle firms

Two Newcastle firms are supporting an innovative venture to help generate jobs in the North East. Greggs Bakery and the Northern Rock Bank have put up £1 million towards the scheme’s £3 million target, which is based on a novel use of investment bonds. Entitled Working Capital, local businesses and individuals can purchase an employment bond for a minimum of £200, with the funds used to help people into new jobs, provide better quality homes and rejuvenate run-down areas of the city. The bond is returned after five years. Contact Jeremy Scutts, Working Capital, on 0191 230 4492 (

Banks respond to socially excluded

In October, NatWest, Barclays and Lloyds TSB all announced the opening of ‘basic’ accounts for low-income customers. The move follows September’s publication by the British Bankers’ Association of a voluntary code, which encourages high-street banks to increase services to the financially excluded. At the same time, the government is seeking support from commercial banks for a new ‘universal’ bank to be run by the Post Office when pensions and other social security benefits are no longer paid in cash. Contact BBA on 020 7216 8989 (

The new economics of banking

The importance of banks for local communities was stressed in a report by the New Economics Foundation in October, which suggests banks need spend only 0.2% of their profits – around £40m – to maintain a network of 1,500 ‘community banks’. The Case for Community Banking proposes such banks be run from pubs, churches, schools and village halls. Contact NEF on 020 7407 7447 (

news in brief

• PricewaterhouseCoopers and UBS Warburg are among winners of this year’s Dragon Awards, which recognise initiatives to improve inner city life in London. The awards were presented on October 2, and are organised by BITC with the Corporation of London. Contact Sarah Paltenghi, Dragon Awards, on 0870 600 2482 (

• The annual Secretary of State’s Awards for Partnership in Regeneration were awarded on October 4. They highlight projects making a real impact on opportunities for people in deprived areas. Among companies involved in winning projects were Sainsbury’s in the Castle Vales Housing Action Trust, Birmingham, and BT and Marconi working with Cumbria CREDITS to develop IT skills. Contact Elspeth Burrage, BURA, on 0800 0181 260 (

Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 55 – December, 2000