The Southern Co-op’s community team was recognised at this year’s Business Charity Awards by Third Sector magazine. The team, which includes three colleagues, took home the award in the corporate social responsibility category for driving the responsible business agenda.
Gemma Lacey, director of sustainability and communications, Jessica Hughes, community investment manager, and Holly Bramble, community coordinator, work to embed a culture of sustainability and corporate responsibility into day-to-day operations across 270 locations.
The community team set the target of reaching a million people by 2020 through its Love Your Neighbourhood programme, which was designed in collaboration with colleagues and members. The initiative focuses on four key themes: greener, healthier, safer and more inclusive neighbourhoods.
Judges praised the the society for reaching 758,000 people through its engagement work, contributing more than £526,000 in goods and donations and raising £150,000 of funds through Love Your Neighbourhood, supporting more than 2,600 organisations in local communities across the south of England.
“This is a thoughtful CSR programme aimed at embedding a sense of community-minded behaviour in employees, with the objective of creating long-lasting behaviour change,” said judge John Thompson, director of social purpose at the fundraising and management consultancy Changing Business.
Ms Hughes said: “We are so pleased and proud to have won this award, which recognises not only the work our small but mighty team do, but also the fantastic efforts of all of our colleagues across the south.
“For us, Love Your Neighbourhood is about more than just giving away donations or raising funds, its about creating long-lasting social change, inspiring and empowering colleagues to engage with their local communities and to build meaningful relationships for the benefit of everyone.
“To win this prestigious award whilst in the company of many large national and international businesses is a real highlight of my career and a moment I will cherish.”
Leeds Building Society was also a finalist in the corporate social responsibility category.