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.
However, our switch to becoming employee-owned in 2022 has meant even greater focus on supporting the wider community. We have now established a dedicated team to manage and allocate a substantial charity budget, and help manage, plan and deliver a range of initiatives.
Led by Chisom Eyesan, Jill Brennan and Liz Thomas, the BCMS Community Support team is engaged with a variety of organisations, both local to us here in Newbury, Berkshire, nationally, and even across continents! In our first financial year as an employee-owned business, this team has already allocated and distributed a fund to multiple good causes. Some highlights are shown below…
Our 2023 community projects… so far
- Partnerships with the Berkshire and Cheshire Community Foundations – regional charitable organisations who raise and distribute money directly to vital local causes
- Newborn clothing collections for Basingstoke-based Safe – a non-profit charity offering support to families including Pregnancy Crisis, Post-Abortion, Miscarriage and Bereavement
- Donation to the Turkey-Syria DEC Earthquake Appeal after the devastating disasters early in 2023
- Supporting the Berkshire Community Foundation ‘Together for Women Event’, to raise awareness about domestic abuse and modern slavery within the county
- Donation to the Sumatran Orangutan Society – which helps endangered orangutans to thrive in three unique and precious ecosystems, the last remaining habitats of the Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans
- Monthly contributions for the Snowdrop Foundation, which primarily supports projects in India, including St Mark’s School in Kakinada, which educates 450 children and provides financial support and accommodation.
Volunteer days – part of the job description!
As part of our employment contracts, all BCMS staff are granted additional paid holiday to volunteer in some capacity. As a result, we have full-time staff volunteering as school governors, helping and donating to foodbanks on a weekly basis, and of course supporting a wide range of community projects personal to them.
In addition, the Community Support Team organises dedicated Volunteer Days at local organisations. These include helping out at Living Paintings, who are located right next to our HQ near Newbury, and produce amazing audio and tactile books for blind children and adults. In late April, BCMS helped with the BBC One Show-featured Coronation Project, where Living Paintings is giving away thousands of free Coronation gifts to help blind and visually impaired children join the Coronation Celebrations for King Charles III.
In June, we’ll be returning to West Berkshire Community Hospital to assist the amazing team at Newbury Cancer Care, who support people who have been diagnosed with cancer and other life-threatening or terminal illnesses – a cause with particular personal resonance for our own Liz Thomas.
Liz Jackson’s 50 for 50
And BCMS Director Liz Jackson MBE is celebrating her 50th birthday in some style, with her ambitious 50 for 50 challenge. Liz is blind, and she’s raising £50,000 for a wide range of charities by undertaking some daredevil initiatives, including a half-marathon on roller skates, and abseiling down the UK’s tallest sculpture, the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London! Alongside BCMS staff, some of our fantastic former clients The Fellows have promised to get on board, too. Find out more and donate right here.
We at BCMS have strong values around Clients, Colleagues and Community – it’s amazing what a team of 28 driven people can do.