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, Better Buildings Partnership, 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 Rathbone Square students from Reading University toured the site and received presentations from the team involved with the development and letting of the property.
As part of the project our architect and Principal Contractor for the scheme have also engaged with All Souls Community Centre, Fitzrovia to assist with maintenance works and also to serve Christmas lunch to the elderly.
At our 148 Old Street development we are providing "affordable work space" to Islington Council for use by small and start up organisations who may not be able to pay market rents.
At our Rathbone Square development we are undertaking a socioeconomic study to assist us in understanding the effect of our development on the local community pre, during and post construction.
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 £5.3 million were made in connection with our developments at Rathbone Square, 30 Broadwick Street and 73/89 Oxford Street.
Supporting educational establishments
During the year ended March 2016 we supported the following educational establishments:
and provided two work experience placements. We also supported a Construction Industry Council speed mentoring event which provides career advice and mentoring for young professionals.
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. We also co-hosted an art competition with our contractor, BAM and Westminster Kingsway College on 50 years in Soho.
Site based apprenticeship schemes
A total of 36 apprentices worked at our properties during the year, we also provided a number of work experience and job start opportunities for local people.
From 2008 to 2016 we invested £17.8 million in our local communities.
For the past seven 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
In January 2016 we were pleased to be involved with Lumiere, London's largest ever light festival. An estimated one million people to central London to see the various installations, including two installations which we sponsored at each end of Picadilly Arcade.
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:
- Blind Veterans UK
- Breast Cancer Now
- Combat Stress
- Help for Heroes
- Macmillan Cancer Support
- Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal
- The Little Princess Trust
- Cancer Research UK
- Wonky Pets
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:
- Child Bereavement UK
- Thames Reach
- Carers Trust
- Ickle Pickles
- Handicapped Childrens Action Group
- Positive East
- The National M.E. Centre
- Lord Mayor's Appeal
- The Institute of Cancer Research
- Children in Need
- Royal Marsden
- Peter Westropp Memorial Trust
- The Fire Fighters Charity
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. In September 2015 we organised a two day cycle ride to raise money for Willow. The GPE team of eight cyclists was joined by a wide range of our stakeholders including contractors, suppliers, consultants and lawyers with 58 participants in total. The bike ride raised in excess of £84,000.
During the year ended March 2016 we donated £144,362 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 2017 we will:
- work with our supplies to create or maintain 50 apprenticeships during the year ending March 2017;
- continue to engage with local schools, colleges and universities with a view to providing work experience, educational initiatives, tours and presentations;
- continue our socioeconomic assessment at our Rathbone Square development;
- review current relationships with charities and community organisations with a view to creating longer term relationships as part of our long term review of strategy "Towards the 2020s";
- 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;