Focus: Corporate Responsibility - Bank funds clinic to boost employee volunteering

The Anthony Nolan Trust has launched a bone marrow clinic in a Barclays call centre in Sunderland, writes Anita Pati.

The Anthony Nolan Trust has piloted its first corporate partnership scheme in which the corporation covers all the costs of running a bone marrow donor recruitment clinic on its site.

Workplace Clinics, in association with Barclays, will help the bank to boost its employee volunteering scheme and recruit donors to the trust's bone marrow register.

United Donors Worldwide Day was on 16 November, but there are still 7,000 patients throughout the world waiting to find a bone marrow donor.

Up to now, whenever the charity has held a donor recruitment clinic in a corporate setting it has had to foot the bill. In this case, however, Barclays has agreed to pay the £70 it costs for each employee to be recruited, tested and registered. The scheme came about because a senior manager at a Barclays call centre in Sunderland had registered as a donor and was called upon to donate. He was so moved by the experience that he convinced his employer to take up the idea, and the first clinic was piloted at his call centre last Monday.

Call centre managers from other locations attended with a view to taking the idea back to their own branches. If this is successful, Barclays hopes to roll the scheme out across the country.

For Barclays, Workplace Clinics is an attempt to make call centre staff feel more involved, because they can feel they are on the periphery of the operation.

Workplace Clinics are held in a meeting room. Employees aged between 18 and 40 complete a medical questionnaire and give a teaspoonful of blood.

Stella McRae, regional community manager for Barclays North East, said that a major consideration when she took the scheme on was the level of disruption to customer service.

"It's important that we're taking as many calls as possible, so this was an area of concern for us," she said. "The Anthony Nolan Trust was brilliant at recognising this."

The charity tailored clinic schedules and promotional materials to meet Barclays' business needs. It distributed leaflets explaining what would be involved in the testing and ran educational videos on plasma screens across the site. The appointments were in 15-minute slots and, at last count, the centre had at least 50 employees signed up, saving £3,500 for the charity.

"The company sees this as part of its own volunteering scheme," said Michelle Lane, corporate fundraising manager for Anthony Nolan.

The charity is now looking for other companies to join the scheme. "We hope that in 2006, more than 2,000 potential donors will be recruited and that this will attract at least £100,000 in additional funding," said Lane.

anita.pati@haynet.com

KEY POINTS

- Barclays has agreed to fund the running of a bone marrow clinic at one of its call centres for the Anthony Nolan Trust

- The scheme, Workplace Clinics, was piloted at the Sunderland call centre last week, with a view to extending it across the UK

- Barclays has committed itself to paying the £3,500 it costs for up to 50 employees to be recruited, tested and registered

- There are 7,000 patients throughout the world waiting to find a suitable bone marrow donor. The Anthony Nolan Trust urgently needs to recruit donors, especially from BME communities.

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