Our charity of the year 2024: Simon Says
A commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ‘giving back’ has been part of the DNA of BCMS since we were first established in the late 1980s, and we have long contributed a proportion of monthly revenues to charitable causes.
Our transition to employee ownership in 2022 has meant even greater focus in this area. We established a dedicated Community Team to manage and allocate our charity budget, and help manage, plan and deliver a range of initiatives.
We are proud to have established recent partnerships with the Berkshire and Cheshire Community Foundations – regional charitable organisations who raise and distribute money directly to vital local causes. Other organisations close to the business include Basingstoke-based The Safe – a non-profit charity offering support to families including Pregnancy Crisis, Post-Abortion, Miscarriage and Bereavement – and Newbury Cancer Care, which BCMS team members have supported via a series of volunteer days. Indeed, as part of our employment contracts, all BCMS staff are granted additional paid holiday to volunteer for and help a wide range of organisations of their choice.
Simon Says – our chosen charity
As an employee-owned and run business, we like to involve all colleagues in our decision making. Which charities we support – and why – is no different. We surveyed all staff about who we should choose for Charity Of The Year 2024, and the answer came back clearly: the vast majority wanted to support a local organisation, with local impact.
We’re proud to announce that our chosen organisation is child bereavement charity Simon Says (Registered Charity 1196341), based in Romsey. Established in 2001, Simon Says supports children and young people, up to the age of 18, when someone close to them has died or is dying.
Southampton teacher Simon Stanley – for whom the charity is named – was just 37 when he died of cancer in 2000. After his death, his wife Sally found there was no bereavement support locally for their two small children. Simon Says became a registered charity in 2001. The charity runs monthly support groups for young people and a telephone support line. It also provides advice, support and training to teachers and other professionals who work with bereaved children and young people.
The need is clear: it is estimated that each year, around 400 parents die in Hampshire, leaving 690 dependents, and there are over 4,300 children and young people in Hampshire who have lost a parent or sibling at some point in their childhood, according to figures from www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk
“The team at BCMS are amazing and we are absolutely thrilled they have chosen us” – Rhian Sewell, Simon Says
Rhian Sewell, Head of Fundraising at Simon Says, said: “We were excited to be invited to meet BCMS to talk about our charity and the ways in which they could support us. They have a clear ambition to support charitable causes and believe that such support positively influences personal and professional development of all staff. The team at BCMS are amazing and we are absolutely thrilled that they have chosen us as their Charity Of The Year and look forward to working together.”
Sarah Bates, Financial Controller and Employee Trustee at BCMS, is part of our dedicated Community Team. As she explained: “We are really pleased to be supporting Simon Says. They provide invaluable support to children and young people to enable them and their families to move forward in their lives. Simon Says is a local charity that makes a significant difference across Hampshire. The charity relies solely on fundraising and donations, as such we are delighted to be able to help support the fantastic work they do.”
To find out more about Simon Says, and to make a donation, visit www.simonsays.org.uk