Focus: Corporate Responsibility - Side by side

Harrogate-based Henshaws College, which provides life skills training to visually impaired young people with additional disabilities, has forged a link with freight logistics provider the Potter Group.


The Potter Group has so far given £10,000 towards the Henshaws Living Life Campaign, which aims to raise £3.5m towards the £7.5m cost of upgrading residential facilities on campus. Derrick Potter, the founder and chairman of the group, has been a strong supporter of the campaign since its earliest days, and we were very happy when the company joined as a platinum corporate member last October.

But it's not just the senior staff who are interested - employees at all levels are involved. There have been three staff visits to the campus so far to meet our students and see for themselves how our young people learn the skills required to live independent lives. Potter Group staff have also raised funds for us by writing a cookery book and a children's fairy tale about a blind boy.

It is wonderful for us to be working closely with an organisation that operates across the UK because our students come from all over the country to learn at Henshaws. The various depots have been able to sponsor students whose families live locally.


Our involvement began with a company donation to the Living Life Campaign.

The Potter Group was about to enter its 40th year of operation and wanted to commemorate this by making a significant contribution to a local charity.

Henshaws is about 15 miles from us.

Each of the five sites has adopted a local Henshaws student. We've been sent a case study, a photograph and information about their interests.

We had hoped that the students could come and visit the depots, but this has been difficult because they have special needs. It also has to be in holiday time because Henshaws is a boarding college, but many of our staff are away on holiday then.

Over the past 12 months, we've arranged fundraising including cookery book sales, quizzes, raffles and sponsored walks, with each centre having its own financial target.

It's superb working with them. It has created closer bonds across the company and we have seen huge personal development from those colleagues who volunteered to help.

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