Why it matters
We recognise that local initiatives can play an important role in improving and promoting central London, and are committed to being actively involved to promote their success.
What we're doing
By enhancing our local environment through local community initiatives we are able to improve the surroundings for our tenants.
Directors and Senior Management are encouraged to represent the Group’s views and contribute to the development of the property industry. We actively support a number of groups including the London First, New West End Company, Westminster Property Association, British Property Federation, British Council of Offices , the Baker Street Quarter Partnership, Bond Street Strategic Group, Heart of London Business Alliance,Jermyn Street Association, Shoreditch Property Association and Better Bankside in their work to address issues such as planning, transport and security.
We voluntarily match tenant contributions to the New West End Company to ensure that London's West End continues to be unsurpassed as a leading global destination.
On refurbishments and developments with construction costs of over £10 million, we work with our construction partners to identify and support relevant community initiatives such as apprenticeship schemes. At our 12/14 New Fetter Lane development an Employment and Skills Manager co-ordinates apprenticeships, training and engagement with local schools.
We recognise that if we are to encourage young people to enter the property and construction industry it is essential that we engage with educational establishments to provide students with opportunities to engage with the industry through on-site tours, presentations, work experience and mentoring. During the year we have engaged with local universities, colleges and schools to provide presentations, building tours and work experience placements.
Section 106 payments
As part of the planning application process on developments, we are required to make financial contributions under Section 106 agreements with the relevant council. Where possible, we try to make sure that those funds are spent on improving the public realm in the immediate area around our development.
Repurposing vacant space
We encourage local galleries and charities to use our vacant space, where appropriate, for temporary exhibitions and presentations.
We encourage employees to support charitable initiatives and match their fundraising activities. Our employees and directors nominate four charities to support each year and our on-site Building Managers, in consultation with our tenants, nominate at least two charitable initiatives or events to support each year at their properties. We also support Land Aid through regular corporate donations and our Portfolio Director is a Board member of the Willow Foundation.
How we're performing
We actively participate in associations that work to promote and enhance central London.
Toby Courtauld is a Director of the New West End Company. The Group make voluntary contributions to match those of its tenants to the New West End Company.
Supported and run by major retailers and property owners, its aim is to promote the commercial potential and build awareness of London's West End as the world's premier shopping destination through the promotion of the district, delivery of street management services and funding public realm projects to improve the shopping environment.
During the year Section 106 payments amounting to £6.6 million were made in connection with our developments at Walmar House, 12/14 New Fetter Lane, 240 Blackfriars Road, Rathbone Square and 30 Broadwick Street.
Supporting educational establishments
During the year ended March 2014 we supported the following educational establishments:
and provided work experience placements for three local secondary schools.
Through our 12/14 New Fetter Lane, Rathbone Square and 30 Broadwick Street developments we supported local educational establishments in in a series of tours, talks and presentations at our development sites. Our Head of Development also attends regular meetings with a student at Reading University as a mentor.
Site based apprenticeship schemes
At our 12/14 New Fetter Lane development 6 apprentices have been employed and a sector based work academy piloted to provide classroom training and two weeks work experience on site for 12 candidates. A number of local colleges and educational establishments have been visited by our contractor to identify suitable candidates for future employment and learning opportunities at New Fetter Lane as the project continues to progress.
From 2008 to 2015 we invested £12.5 million in our local communities.
For the past six years we have supported West End Live, a unique theatre event that brings a selection of top productions out into the open for a weekend each June. In May 2015 we were the first developer to pledge £20,000 to support Building Lives, the construction industry's apprenticeships charity.
Asset Management Activities
We encourage our Building Managers to work with our tenants to identify good causes to support through our buildings and support a variety of local and national charities. During the year ended March 2015 in addition to our support of the Bermondsey Street Festival, the following charities were supported:
- Asthma UK
- Breast Cancer Campaign
- Cancer Research
- Cardinal Hume Centre
- Help for Heroes
- Macmillan Cancer Support
- The Poppy Appeal
- The Terrence Higgins Trust
Other charitable activities
We encourage our employees to participate in their own charitable activities and match their fund raising efforts up to a value of £250 per event. Our directors and employees also nominate charities to support for the financial year. For the year ended March 2015, these were:
- Academy of St Martin in the Fields
- Anne Frank Trust UK
- Anthony Nolan Trust
- Cancer Research
- Richard House
- SOC Appeal
- Sparks for Children's Health
- Variety, The Children's Charity
- Little Havens
- Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
As a company we support Land Aid by donating £10,000 per anum and by taking part in their fun run.
We also support Willow Foundation. Neil Thompson, our Portfolio Director is a member of the Willow Foundation Development Board.
During the year ended March 2015 we donated £81,626 to charities, this does not include payments through Section 106 agreements or through lettings.
What we plan to do
Community investment is a long-term process and we will work hard to maintain our reputation for playing an active role in supporting activities that promote and improve our local surrounds.
For the year ended March 2016 we will:
- work with our construction partners to identify and support relevant community initiatives on refurbishments and developments with construction costs over £10 million;
- work with our construction partners to create 20 apprenticeships and maintain a further 30 apprenticeships at our construction sites;
- organise five educational tours, presentations or initiatives for local schools and colleges;
- consider how we can improve the local public realm within the various design stages of our developments;
- continue to support local partnerships such as the New West End Company and the Baker Street Quarter Partnership to promote and build awareness of London's West End and its businesses;
- continue to support local galleries and charities by providing them with space that would otherwise be empty;
- offer three work experience placements from local secondary schools and colleges within head office; and
- carry out a socioeconomic assessment at our Rathbone Place development.