In order to create space for London to thrive, we have a responsibility to ensure we have a long-lasting positive impact on the communities in which we work. We consider our communities to be London as a whole, the boroughs in which we work and the streets in which our buildings are located. We also aim to create communities within our buildings, developing environments in which the occupiers and users of our buildings want to linger and socialise as well as work.
Creating Sustainable Relationships helps put our ambitions into practice with initiatives on issues we care about that have a direct effect on London. The strategy also forms part of the social value guidelines issued to our development teams to ensure that we monitor, manage and measure the social impact of our development activities.
For more on how we integrate social value within our development activities see our Sustainable Development Brief.
The themes of our strategy reflect key priorities for London:
- Breaking the cycle of youth homelessness
- Improving air quality and urban greening
- Addressing the skills gap through engagement with education; and
- Mitigating the risk of modern slavery
We also report progress against our community strategy annually, in our Community impact report.
Andrew White Development Director
In order to create a sense of place around our properties, it is vital that we engage with local communities. By investing in local initiatives, not only do we support our neighbours but we help to make central London a better place to live and work for our occupiers.
Breaking the cycle of youth homelessness
raised in our first year
of staff took part in our first community day
With youth homelessness in London at record levels, we committed to a three-year partnership with Centrepoint in May 2018. Centrepoint is dedicated to tackling youth homelessness across London and to getting young people back into work, this made them the obvious organisation for us to work with as our charity partner.
During the first year of engagement we raised £117,000 and a further £31,000 in goods in kind and pro bono support. We held our first Community Day, which included four challenges:
1. Transformation of a garden located at a Centrepoint residential service in West London.
2. A Blagathon – blagging a list of goods needed by Centrepoint teams, including wellness packages, memory sticks, safety shoes and catering equipment.
3. A Hackathon where some of our team worked with the Centrepoint Engagement Team to brainstorm a challenge they were facing.
4. A raffle involving our suppliers and occupiers which raised more than £10,000 on the day.
We were proud that 86% of our team took part in a fantastic, engaging and rewarding day.
We are also working with the Centrepoint team to find opportunities for work placements within our supply chain. This helps their young people ready themselves to return to a full-time job. Additionally, we are helping to support their property team given the challenges of running a diverse property portfolio.
Improving air quality and urban greening
We integrate urban greening into building design and look to retrofit it within our existing buildings.
As a member of Wild West End we are working with other property owners in London’s West End to enhance biodiversity and increase connections with green space and nature.
Through our community strategy we formed a three-year partnership with Groundwork London, which includes a donation of £15,000 per year. The first year’s funding was directed to improving air quality in and around London schools and funded the Air Quality and Green Infrastructure Toolkit for Schools. We also provided seed funding for two primary schools, which unlocked additional funding from the Greener City Fund to install green walls and other green interventions at Oliver Goldsmith School, Southwark and Marner Primary School, Tower Hamlets.
During the year we sponsored the Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) Future Gardeners apprenticeship scheme which helps local people in Southwark to establish careers in horticulture. We are also working with BOST on greening opportunities within our portfolio and sponsored The Great Get Together SE1.
For our Community Day in support of Centrepoint we: Transformed a garden of a residential service painting fences, clearing weeds and installing a bike shed; “Blagged” £7,400 worth of much needed goods, including ‘Blue Monday’ bags, soft furnishings, books, memory sticks and equipment for the training teams; Together with Centrepoint, helped brainstorm plans to tackle a challenge that the Engagement Team were facing; and Took £250 and used it to create a raffle, raising more than £10K for with prizes generously donated by some of our occupiers and suppliers. 86% of our team took part in a fantastic day
Through our support of Groundwork London, we were able to provide seed funding for Oliver Goldsmith school in Southwark, the funding unlocked an additional grant from the Greener City Fund and together we were able to fund the installation of a green wall and additional planting, to provide a green barrier for the playground. Work was carried out over the Easter holidays and the children returned to school, able to use their playground as an external learning environment with the green wall acting as a barrier between the children and the busy road adjacent to the school.
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
During the year, we also announced our support for Bankside Open Spaces Trust which aims to make London Bankside a greener, more beautiful place to live and work. Working with their talented team, we hope to improve greening at our properties in London SE1 in addition to supporting their Future Gardeners scheme, an innovative training and work experience scheme which gives participants the skills to gain entry to careers in horticulture.
Education and Skills
During the year we supported more than 135 University of Westminster students, launched the 2019 Build UK Open Doors event at Hanover Square. and worked with the Construction Youth Trust Budding Brunels programme which introduces 16-19 year olds to potential careers in construction. This year six apprenticeships were facilitated through our construction sites and a further three in our occupied buildings. With Centrepoint we facilitated work placement opportunities with fifteen of our suppliers, and through our support of the Bankside Open Spaces Trust funded a cohort of the Future Gardeners apprenticeship scheme.
Raising awareness of Modern Slavery
We have a part to play in raising awareness of Modern Slavery and have therefore joined the Chartered Institute of Building, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Hope for Justice and others in sponsoring a Justice in Motion physical theatres production designed to raise awareness of modern slavery within the construction industry.
Addressing the skills gap
By supporting local skills and opportunities we help develop the skilled workforce of tomorrow. Since 2013 we have built a relationship with the University of Westminster Construction Programme. This year we supported more than 135 students through building tours, presentations and lectures on sustainability, BIM and smart buildings. In addition, we supported Pathways to Property and took part in the 2019 Open Doors scheme. We also worked with the Construction Youth Trust Budding Brunels scheme which introduces young people aged 16-19 to the potential of careers in construction.
Mitigating the risk of modern slavery
We seek to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking within any part of our business or in our supply chain. See our Modern Slavery Statement and our Supplier Code of Conduct. We also work with our design and construction teams on ethical sourcing of materials and labour, see our Sustainable Development Brief for more.
We also have a part to play in raising awareness of Modern Slavery and that’s why we joined the Chartered Institute of Building, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Hope for Justice and others in sponsoring a Justice in Motion physical theatre production, designed to raise awareness of modern slavery within the construction industry.