FUNDRAISING NEWS: WHY WE GIVE - John Nichols, debt recovery manager, ECS

John Nichols is debt recovery manager with ECS (part of London Electricity Group). He is involved with Helping Hands, London Electricity Group's flagship community scheme, which began in May 2001.

Approximately how much time do you give per year?

About a day a month, not including the training for the London Marathon.

Helping Hands gives around 1.5 per cent of profit before tax to the community - this includes in-kind and in time as well as straightforward donations. Helping Hands gives every employee two days paid time off a year, matched in the employee's time. It enjoys full senior management support, nearly one in five staff is involved, and in its first year 526 staff volunteered more than 600 hours.

How much money have you helped raise?

Around £3,000 went towards supporting the Helping Hands charities which are Age Concern, Centrepoint and Marie Curie Cancer Care. A total of £90,000 was raised last year.

Why do you give to these charities?

They're chosen in a group-wide survey, matched pound for pound.

What has been your most successful way of raising funds or best project to volunteer for?

The London Marathon - asking colleagues and friends to sponsor me was extremely successful, and I was fitter for it in the end.

Do you support any other charities outside London Electricity Group?

No, I've always supported Marie Curie Cancer Care. I delegate to my team if I'm not able to find the time. This helps build confidence and team working.

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