When the Gro Company started producing sleeping bags for babies and toddlers in 2000, it turned for expert help to the charity the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths.
Christian Jones, managing director of the Gro Company, says: "We wanted to make a safe baby sleeping bag and establish a British Standard at the same time, so we worked with the FSID to achieve this."
Almost 13 years later, the number of cot deaths has fallen by 20 per cent in the UK – a drop largely attributed to the introduction of safe sleeping bags. And last year, Gro won the affinity marketing category at the Business Charity Awards for its work with the FSID.
Since 2000, Gro has provided funding worth £500,000 to FSID and it has taken over from the NHS as the main producer of a Safe Sleep Guide, developed by the charity. "The FSID used to provide safe sleeping advice leaflets through the Department of Health, but it ran out of money for the scheme, so the charity asked us to step in," says Jones.
The company has so far printed 250,000 copies of the guide and distributed them to front-line health professionals to pass on to parents. Gro says it is committed to continue printing and supplying an unlimited number of the guides.
Winning the BCA has meant a lot to the staff, says Jones. "We were really excited to win because we were up against prestigious companies such as HSBC," he says.
"We have won a few awards over the years, but it is always nice to be recognised and, when it comes to the foundation, everyone who works with us is involved in our relationship with the charity."
Employees who celebrate a birthday at Gro make a donation to the FSID and staff have run the London Marathon on behalf of the charity on three occasions. Every male member of staff sported a moustache for the FSID during Movember and the company has also held cake competitions along the lines of the TV show The Great British Bake Off.
"The BCAs were fantastic for us because, even though staff morale is already great, it really puts a spring in people’s step," says Jones.
Gro sells its products in Australia and the US and Jones says the next move will be to work with cot death charities in those countries, such as KidSafe and First Candle.
For now, the FSID is grateful for the support it receives. Francine Bates, chief executive of the FSID, said: "It’s such a pleasure to work with Gro. It is a family-focused company that goes the extra mile to support us.
"We’ve worked with it for 12 years now and the partnership has enabled us to reach 3.2 million parents with our safe sleep advice."
Gro Company and the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths
The sleeping bag company explains how winning a Business Charity Award has meant a lot to the staff