City Giving Day, now in its 8th year, is an annual opportunity for City businesses to raise much-needed funds for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and other charities, as well as celebrate all their year long philanthropic activities.
Championing volunteering and philanthropic activities undertaken by City businesses to support charities, the environment and society as a whole, City Giving Day is an annual opportunity for businesses to fundraise on the day for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, their own corporate charities, join one of the many City Giving Day events or simply showcase the incredible social impact they generate throughout the year.
City Giving Day has raised an estimated £3m for good causes, including the Lord Mayor’s Appeal since it was launched in 2015. Currently the Lord Mayor’s Appeal supports three core charities which are the Duke of Edinburgh Award, National Numeracy and MQ Mental Health.
BE Offices has been a supporter of City Giving Day since 2018 with our Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Julie Tucker, a major advocate of the initiative, regularly supporting City Giving Day engagement events to encourage other businesses to get on board. This year, Julie joined the ‘Knit for the Community’ organised by The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters as part of the City Giving Day activities. Julie has been knitting squares, almost 30 in total, which will be stitched together to make blankets for those in need this winter and will be joining other knitters and the Lady Mayoress at Mansion House this afternoon to present her donation. Julie has also taken part in the City Giving Day ‘Big Sing’ in Guildhall Yard today to celebrate Music in Offices’ Gospel Music Month. Tonight Julie will be supporting a charity Guinness World Record attempt at the longest played Padel Tennis game, all in aid of City Giving Day.
City Giving Day always falls in the same week as the Macmillan Coffee Morning, a fundraising event we’ve been supporting for over a decade, this week will be our 12th year of participation, during which time we’ve raise tens of thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity which provides vital specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer.
Throughout the year, BE Offices also supports various other social impact initiatives such as taking part in the Great City Race in support of Futuremakers and putting a team together for the Paddington Dragon Boat Regatta in support of the Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care Unit.
In addition, BE employees are each given three days paid leave to take part in volunteering activities of their choice. In 2023 the company has seen exponential growth in take-up of volunteering opportunities with employees so far participating in weekly online literacy tutoring sessions with primary school children through Chapter One, beach clean-ups on the Thames foreshore, tree planting on Camden housing estates and volunteering with the Scouts to lead a camping trip to the Lake District.
Michelle Winton, BE’s Community and Events Manager, one of the literacy programme volunteers, commented on her experience: “I’m so lucky to have been given the opportunity to volunteer online for 30-minutes a week to help disadvantaged children improve their reading skills. I can’t say enough about what a great experience this has been for me. It is fun and totally uplifting and I always look forward to the weekly sessions.
When you hear your pupil’s voice, they are so excited to get going and really keen to learn. It’s so rewarding, and even more so when you see they are progressing and moving up to more advanced reading levels. You can hear in their voice that they are enjoying the sessions, so both parties are benefiting, which makes it even more special.
Reading with my pupil this year has given me the chance to switch off completely for half an hour during my working week, and it’s allowed me in a small but important way to fulfil a personal pledge to give back to the community.”
Commenting on her beach-cleaning experience, Fatima Yamoun, Centre Manager at our Cheapside building said: “The overall experience was really rewarding and a great way to give back to the community. Litter picking on the riverbank really gave me an insight to how much waste sadly ends up in the river and the impact this has on wildlife. Also, just being by the water was a very calming and peaceful experience. I would totally recommend it to anyone.”
One of the tree planting volunteers, Asif Azam, Operations Projects Manager commented: “Half-way through the day, two residents with small children came out to us and gave us a massive thank you – it absolutely made the rain, the heavy lifting and the muddiness worth it. At the end of the day, I walked away with a massive smile on my face, and I look forward to going back in a few years to see how the trees are coming along.”
In addition to these activities, over the years, we’ve also funded two-week all-expenses paid international staff volunteering missions which in the past have seen us working with communities in Cambodia, street children and girls rescued from trafficking in Nepal, at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, on a reef conservation project in Belize and at a turtle conservation project in Costa Rica.