Business Charity Awards: Single Project - Winner: National Grid with Special Olympics Great Britain

For a company that has successfully backed a specific project run by a UK charity

Aquatics medal ceremony on day two of the Special Olympics
Aquatics medal ceremony on day two of the Special Olympics

What was the project?
The energy company the National Grid sponsored the volunteer programme for the Special Olympics Great Britain National Summer Games in 2013, held in Bath. The SOGB provides sports training and competition for children and adults with learning disabilities.

How did they do it?
The games are held every four years, but 2013 was the first year in which the SOGB had to organise them without the support of the host city’s local authority. With only 12 full-time employees at the SOGB, the games were at risk, but thanks to more than 800 of the National Grid’s employees volunteering more than 1,000 hours of their time, they were able to go ahead. The company built a registration website where volunteers and families could sign up for the games, and set up a control room to oversee security. It also managed 12 operational and competition areas. Health and safety experts were on hand, as were people with contract management and negotiation, communications and IT skills, saving SOGB significant amounts of money. Gas transmission employees participated in a six-month project to create the cauldron that took centre stage at the opening ceremony.

Why did they win?
At the 2013 games, 1,700 athletes competed in 12 sports, supported by 600 coaches, 500 event volunteers and 120 sports officials. Thanks to the National Grid’s support, the games were a major success.

What did the judges say?
Helen Wagstaff, corporate responsibility manager at British Gas, said: "The project shows the amazing difference that volunteers from companies can make to a charity."

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