At Work: Partnerships - Business partner - Prudential Property Investment Management links up with BTCV

Mathew Little

BTCV has built itself a reputation as the urban conservation charity that involves the local community in creating green space amid grime and traffic fumes. Its partnership with Prudential Property Investment Management is testament to this image.

Prupim owns 14 shopping centres across the country, but they aren't, as Paul Cornes, corporate responsibility director at Prudential, points out, "cathedrals of marble and glass". They are bricks-and-mortar shopping malls in some of England's less glamorous locations - Bradford, Wolverhampton, Coventry and the Arndale Centre in Manchester.

"We were doing very little on the environment," recalls Cornes. "Only a couple of organisations have the national reach to help us do that, and BTCV was one."

The Manchester project involves financing the local community to rebuild a local park. The Arndale Centre was undergoing major rebuilding following the IRA bombing in 1996, so building contractors were enlisted to contribute workers and machinery.

BTCV says it has a tradition of working with the private sector. The relationship, which began in 2001, has enabled it to finance community conservation projects that would otherwise have remained on the drawing board.

Cornes says Prupim wanted to contribute to the communities in which it owns sites, but there is a also a business factor. "If we can make a town centre more attractive and safer, people will want to shop there, and that's good for our retailers," he says.

The five-year-old relationship is well past the life expectancy of most corporate partnerships. Eleven projects, worth £250,000, have been completed in that period. It is set to endure into 2007, when Prupim will support BCTV's Spring into Action campaign.

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