Corporate partnerships: It's Asos staff who make Centrepoint link special

The number of young people living on the street near the company's offices stirred employees into action plus the latest corporate partnership news

It was the enthusiasm of the company's employees that kickstarted the fashion retailer Asos's partnership with the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint earlier this year. Many of them became acquainted with the charity last Christmas when Centrepoint called for clothes donations for homeless people in London.

Asos, which is based in the capital's Camden district, responded by donating some of its unwanted stock.

"Staff couldn't believe there were so many young people just like them living on the street near our office," says Louise McCabe, director of corporate responsibility at Asos. "After that, they kept on asking: 'When can we do something for Centrepoint again?'"

Asos already had a partnership with the youth charity the Prince's Trust, but thought that an additional partnership with Centrepoint would give it the in-road it had been seeking to help combat homelessness, says McCabe.

"We told it we had only £20,000 available to help and asked to be a partner," she says. The charity agreed and the partnership was launched officially in March this year.

Since then, Asos has committed to donating a further £100,000 to Centrepoint in 2016/17, which will be channelled through the company's charitable arm, the Asos Foundation. Most of the foundation's funding comes directly from Asos, but staff also raise money for it through events such as fundraising galas and challenges such as marathons, a sponsored abseil from the office roof and a sponsored walk from London to Barnsley in South Yorkshire.

McCabe says she expects that Asos will work with Centrepoint for at least three years. The company is encouraging each member of staff to use the paid volunteering day they receive every year to work at the charity, with activities planned so far including decorating hostels for homeless people and assisting at a mother and baby unit. It is also spending £50,000 to cover the salary and related costs of a new senior mental health professional who will help run the charity's health and wellbeing programmes.

McCabe expects the partnership to come into its own at Christmas. Asos will be the charity's first official partner for the festive period, when it plans to supply presents for 800 homeless young people. "The gifts will also be donated by staff - or, if we don't have enough, we'll buy some," says McCabe. "I don't think we'll give them stock this time. I expect they'd prefer chocolates."

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