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One of the 3 pillars of our corporate responsibility programme, Good Together, is Team and Community. We recognise the importance of supporting the communities in which our team members, customers and suppliers live and work. Through our Team & Community programmes we aim is to make lives better for people through building skills, increasing employment opportunity and charitable giving.
Between 2012 and 2017 we have set ourselves the target of 6,000 people achieving nationally recognised qualifications, creating 5,000 new jobs and raising £5 million for charities.
These are challenging targets but our Team and Community Strategy has already achieved a number of successes. 2012 saw us exceed our three year target by helping over 3000 people gain qualifications and £1.3million being donated to Water Aid - our Hotels and Restaurants charity partner for that period.
Our Good Together community investment activity promotes the helping of people to develop their potential and enrich the communities in which they live. We believe the area where we can make the most difference is youth unemployment.
Our community strategy is focussed on interventions which will help reduce youth unemployment and skills deficits, whilst giving young people the opportunity of work experience and employment. By developing their skills and helping them attain the right qualifications, we can improve their prospects of taking the first steps onto a career path.
We know our people are passionate about charitable giving and so as part of our new Community Strategy, Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants have developed and implemented a new charity framework. As before our hotels and restaurants businesses will support our Corporate Charity Partner, and in addition they now have an opportunity to select a local charity partner. We will also continue to support our employees in their own personal charity endeavours through our payroll giving and match funding schemes.
Our desire to help WaterAid was fuelled by the importance of water to our business and thanks to our team members, guests and suppliers, who together raised over £1.3m, 66,500 people in India now have access to safe water and sanitation.
In May this year we announced our new Corporate Charity Partner for the hotels and restaurant business, as Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). GOSH were selected by our team members following a rigorous selection process supported by Business in the Community (BITC).
Our team members had told us they wanted to be involved in the selection process so we formed a charity selection panel. The panel, which consisted of team members, managers and Support Centre, were tasked with the responsibility of selecting two charities from a short list of five who had been through the selection process supported by BITC. The two charities selected would then go forward to a team member vote. We held our National Polling Day on 24 April 2012 and this was open to every team member in our Hotels and Restaurant business. This involvement of our team members in selecting our Corporate Charity Partner will help ensure everyone is engaged in making it a success.
As well as supporting our Corporate charity partner, GOSH, we are currently exploring ways of how we can support local charities in the communities where we work. We will be aligning this activity to our overall community strategy which focuses on young people, helping to give them a better future.
We already contribute to the local community through brand initiatives, such as Table Table’s Kit for Clubs and Beefeater Grill’s Community Champions Awards. Read about our brand community support for our restaurants in the local community (PDF, 1.3MB)
Our Systems Team, based in our Dunstable office, supported the community by spending a team day painting Grove Rd Primary School in Aylesbury.
John Manning, Chair of Govenors was delighted with the work and said, "It means a huge amount to the school. Children always learn best if they are in a great environment and in fact it is one of the statements of our values, that Grove Road is a great place to be. This work is going to make it an even greater place to be."
The Systems Team have totally embraced the Good Together programme and have set up their own IS Green Team, which meets regularly to share best practice and promote ideas to support Whitbread's Good Together goals, such as reducing our carbon footprint through implementing more efficient printing equipment.
Just under one in five employees take part in our payroll giving scheme run with the help of our partners Payroll Giving in Action. In 2011/12, £298,000 was donated to all kinds of charities. The launch of a much more efficient digital system, which cut down on administration and paper costs, won the 2009 National Payroll Giving Excellence Award for "Best Innovation in a Promotional Partnership".
We are always seeking to improve participation and in recognition of our diverse workforce we also publish our scheme information in Polish and Russian.
Since the Payroll Giving Quality Mark was introduced we have maintained Gold status. This is given to companies with more than a 10% participation rate for their scheme. A Platinum Quality Mark has now been introduced and we are delighted to have been awarded this too.
Our Raise & Match Scheme enables us to support our team members who raise funds for charities and good causes close to their own hearts. In 2011/12 they raised £72,000 which the company matched with £38,000 – a total of £110,000 therefore went to various charities throughout the UK.