Business Charity Awards: Introduction

These awards indicate that corporate Britain does do a lot for charity, says Third Sector editor Stephen Cook

Stephen Cook, editor
Stephen Cook, editor

Turn left down the high street and you pass a couple of banks - Barclays and Lloyds - and then you come to PizzaExpress. Go past the Coventry Building Society and there's Greggs, the bakers. Round the corner, heading for the suburbs, you'll find a Land Rover showroom and Keyline Builders Merchants.

The point of this imaginary walkabout is to underline the fact that a lot of the businesses we see around us in day-to-day life are engaged in productive and excellent partnerships with charities and voluntary organisations - so excellent that they account for half of the winners in this year's Business Charity Awards.

You'll probably know other winning names too, although they operate more out of City offices or on the internet: Centrica, for example, the parent company of British Gas; Bibby Line, the shipping and logistics group; and the health insurance company Simplyhealth. Smaller service outfits are winners too, such as Lancaster Cleaning and Support Services and Ethicall.

It's sometimes said that corporate Britain doesn't do much for charity, but these awards indicate the opposite. A lot is going on, from international to local level, and companies no longer doubt that if they are good corporate citizens they will attract better staff and boost their businesses. Ideas and methods of contribution are many and varied.

The powerhouse of these partnerships is, of course, the staff, who help by giving their time and skills and climbing mountains - literally and metaphorically - for their chosen causes. This supplement is full of their inspiring stories, which vary from the conquest of a peak in the Atlas Mountains to running workshops to help young people with the skills they need to find work. Congratulations to all the winners, and we look forward to an even bigger and better celebration next year.

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