In the last two years our local communities have been hit hard. Charities in the UK have struggled to support their local community. Financial holes have emerged due to the withdrawal of the EU Structural Fund as part of the Brexit deal, and its replacement, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, still in its infancy, will have a challenge plugging them. Add to this the effect of the pandemic on UK charities with 60%* recording a loss of income and staff redundancies.
Now is a good time to consider how your CSR programme can help your local community and local charities recover whilst at the same time meeting strategic objectives. In addition to feeling like you have made a contribution to your local community, it can bring financial benefits through increased business and promote staff engagement and motivation.
Volunteering during Covid increased, with 1 in 5 UK adults giving up their time to help local community initiatives, such as food banks and deliveries to the elderly and those who were shielding.
However, the face of volunteering is also changing with more people from disadvantaged backgrounds and marginalized communities volunteering with local initiatives as a way to increase their employability and to help prevent loneliness and low self esteem. People who are struggling with unemployment, addiction or limiting conditions gain considerable emotional value from volunteering. Not only that but rewards such as education, grocery vouchers, fitness or entertainment experiences can be given in exchange via a time credit system which adds to the motivation and sense of personal achievement.
Businesses can play their part in helping volunteers and local community groups too by providing tangible rewards. Research by Tempo Time Credits reported that 88% of volunteers said being acknowledged with rewards improved their mental health and 95% said they felt able to contribute to the community.
UK businesses are starting to rebuild, having withstood some serious roadblocks in the past few years; a pandemic, Brexit, staff shortages and the economic upheaval they bring. Now is the time to rethink a strategy to help play a part in the overall social and economic picture. Socially conscious businesses are well placed to thrive in the current market.
A recent Impact report found that 73% of investors state efforts to improve the environment and society play into their investment decision-making. It also found that 77% of consumers are more likely to use companies that are committed to making the world a better place. The case for social responsibility has never been more important.
Urban regeneration is an area that requires a large amount of volunteer time as well as financial investment, it’s also a very sociable way to get outside and join in with the community. Many organisations in Lancashire have commissioned projects that provide Time Credits, to volunteers from a variety of community projects.
Case Study: Les from Lancashire
Les first discovered Tempo after his wife suffered a major stroke, resulting in him giving up his job to become her full-time career. The Stoke Association invited his wife to help with their allotment group, a preferred hobby before her stroke and Les went along with her. As partners with Tempo, the allotment group introduced the scheme to Les who recognised the incredible opportunities available and decided to get involved.
Les now earns Tempo Time credits in many ways, including:
– Admin support to his local Stroke Association office
– Support the monthly community choir
– Helping out at ‘know your blood pressure’ events, the allotment and the advice cafe.
Les’s wife’s disability hit them hard financially but with the help of Tempo Time credits, he is able to fund activities he would not otherwise be able to afford. It means so much to him to be able to treat his family to days out, visiting places like Blackpool Tower, or simply be able to take himself off to the gym.
“We were so glad The Stroke Association invited us to the allotment, that day was life-changing. Not only has volunteering enabled me to meet new people and make a difference, the Tempo Credits have also encouraged me to get out of the house and look after my own wellbeing too, what a great idea.”
Tempo work in partnership with Lancashire County Council who share their passion for tackling community problems including food security, loneliness and social isolation. Together they work with groups such as the Stroke Association Allotment to engage, inspire and support local as well as recognising the contribution that the volunteers make.
Currently Tempo Time Credits works with 30 projects around the UK, with approximately 24 commissioning organisations such as local health authorities, grant giving organisations and local government groups. They provide the Tempo Time Credits to the volunteers via community charity groups and partnerships, who can then redeem them with a variety of different recognition partners ranging from sports centres and education trusts to supermarkets. As businesses in Lancashire consider social responsibility, providing Tempo Time Credits is an expedient way to both gain a diverse audience and give back to the city.