Business Charity Awards: Business of the Year – Liberty Global

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

What is the project?

TV and broadband company Liberty Global’s former chief strategy officer created the charity Lessons for Life in 2008 to improve life prospects for vulnerable children in Africa.

Through innovative staff and partner engagement, Liberty Global has helped Lessons for Life raise £3m a year in unrestricted funds and provides critical pro-bono support – in particular, office space, technical assistance and trustees.

What did the company do?

In 2019 Liberty Global recognised the potential for expanding Lessons for Life’s impact through a merger with Street Child, an award-winning NGO focused on children's education in impoverished and disaster-affected settings.

Street Child received substantial support from UN agencies, governments and philanthropists, but lacked significant corporate backing and had low levels of unrestricted income. It was looking to expand into Uganda, Lessons for Life’s major project country.

Liberty Global pledged to support the merger and roll its long-term commitment to Lessons for Life into Street Child. Four senior Liberty Global staff accepted places on an expanded Street Child board.

What has it achieved?

Since 2008, Liberty Global’s support has helped more than 330,000 children to go to school and supported thousands of families to set up businesses so they can afford the cost of educating their children in the long term.

Overall, the company has contributed more than £12m of direct unrestricted funding. In 2019/20 Street Child supported 110,639 students, teachers and community members, and was one of the first UK charities to launch a Covid-19 emergency appeal.

By 31 May 2020, 3.78 million people living in the world's toughest places received vital Covid-19 preventative information.

What did the judges say?

The judges praised Liberty Global’s company-wide investment, understanding and support of its chosen charity. “The merger support is commendable,” said one.

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