Corporate partnerships - Edinburgh farm business forms homelessness link

Craigie's hopes to provide employment and work experience opportunities for clients of the Bethany Christian Trust

John Sinclair (left) with his wife Kirsteen and Iain Gordon, chief executive of Bethany
John Sinclair (left) with his wife Kirsteen and Iain Gordon, chief executive of Bethany

For all the charity partnerships between large companies and major charities, there are hundreds more involving smaller businesses doing what they can to help local good causes.

The partnership between the farm retail business Craigie's and the Edinburgh-based homelessness charity the Bethany Christian Trust is one such example. Craigie's, which is located in South Queensferry on the outskirts of Edinburgh, began a three-year partnership with the charity in the summer, and the company hopes it will be about more than just money for the charity.

John Sinclair, who owns and runs the business with his wife Kirsteen, says he hopes to provide employment opportunities to some of the clients of the trust, which works to prevent homelessness and provides support services for more than 7,000 people in Scotland each year, including families, young people, rough sleepers and people recovering from addiction.

Sinclair says Craigie's, which includes a restaurant, farm shop, pick-your-own fields and farm-related activities such as tractor rides, has provided employment and work experience opportunities for clients of previous charity partners and hopes to do the same again with the new partner.

"We are not looking for charities that just want cash," he says. "We want a different type of relationship. With a homelessness charity, it is really important that people are getting opportunities to get back into employment. That is where we can help."

He says the nature of his company's business, which employs 40 people, rising to 65 during the summer months, means it has a number of positions that are well suited to people supported by the charity.

Craigie's will also look to provide interview experience for some of the charity's beneficiaries to help ready them for employment, says Sinclair.

He says he expects the partnership will raise a few thousand pounds for the charity over the next three years, and expects the company's staff will take part in fundraising events for the charity.

Sinclair, who oversees the process of choosing the company's charity partner with his wife, says the company wanted to appoint a charity of the year, but found that a single year was too short so decided to make it three.

He says the company gets good PR as a result of the partnership, but that is not the main driver. "It is good to be able to help people who are not as fortunate as others," he says.

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