Business Charity Awards: Business of the Year – the Berkeley Foundation

For a business that has excelled in helping the wider community by embedding a culture of supporting charitable causes at all levels

Street Elite participants
Street Elite participants

What is the project?

The Berkeley Foundation has worked with the grass-roots youth charity the Change Foundation since 2013 to deliver Street Elite, a project that works to engage young people aged 16 to 24 into making positive life choices using the power of sport. The programme provides coaching and mentoring for young people who live in some of the hardest-to-reach boroughs of London and helps them to re-engage with employment, education or training.

What did it do?

As well as funding the Street Elite project, the Berkeley Foundation has provided the Change Foundation with invaluable support to grow the initiative. Berkeley staff have worked to deliver employability training to project participants and have provided every programme graduate with a work placement, many of which have evolved into full-time jobs. The organisation leveraged its networks to involve new partners with the project, including securing £150,000 from the Mayor of London's Impact Partnership Fund, and has invested in capacity-building at the charity, funding a new communications role and consultancy advice.

What has it achieved?

More than 500 young Londoners have participated in the Street Elite programme since 2013, and more than 80 per cent of participants on the project’s intervention strand for 18 to 24-year-olds have successfully moved into employment, education or training. In addition, 20 Street Elite graduates have secured employment within Berkeley Group businesses and their supply chain companies. A 2019 social return on investment calculation showed that the Street Elite project generated £10.72 in social value over three years for every £1 invested by reducing negative health behaviours, increasing skills, moving people into employment, and engaging young people and making them more active. The project is now being piloted in Birmingham for the first time.

What did the judges say?

Danielle Johnson, UK communications associate director at AstraZeneca, said the social and economic benefits of the winning partnership were “vast”. She added: “Street Elite is an excellent example of a programme that is deep-rooted in community needs, with clear and demonstrable results,” she said. “It is also nice to see people go through the programme and end up becoming employees of the Berkeley Foundation themselves.”

Orlaith McGuinness, LBG development coordinator at Corporate Citizenship, added that the Berkeley Group was an example of an organisation going above and beyond “to embed a culture of supporting community causes at all levels”.

“Its flagship programme, Street Elite, has wide-reaching impacts, not just for the young people and charitable organisations involved, but also for society as a whole,” she said. “Berkeley’s commitment to the communities it serves is further strengthened by the outstanding level of employee engagement across the group.”

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