Community relationships

 

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.

 

 

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.

Andrew White Development Director

Breaking the cycle of youth homelessness

£148,000

raised in our first year

86%

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.

Community Day

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.

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.

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