Ashridge Group, a specialist provider of facilities and security services based near Aylesbury, Bucks, not only believes in encouraging its employees to support the charity sector, it gives each of them two days extra holiday to devote to good causes.
Group Managing Director Emma Walker, explains that the value is not simply to the charities involved but in the sense of purpose and fulfilment it produces in the company’s employees. As regional Chair of the Hertfordshire Volunteer Committee of Crimestoppers, she believes that charitable work goes hand in hand with running an ethical modern business.
“Our company has always put the wellbeing of our people at the heart of our philosophy. Extending that approach into a wider context is a natural process – when people are treated with respect and consideration at work it enables them to see all of society as a community they can engage with. If you look at our website there is a statement on our ‘about’ page which starts with “we care about protecting people…”. That’s what we do professionally, for our customers, but it’s also what we do personally.”
All employees are free to choose the charity they would like to support, and the range of organisations benefitting is highly diverse, including major national organisations such as British Heart Foundation and Macmillan, and locally-based beneficiaries such as MK Snap.
Amanda Tabbett is a particularly strong advocate of the company’s policy. A Security Facilities Officer based at Milton Keynes College’s Silbury Campus, she has for example volunteered to help in a Christmas feeding programme help at the college, which provided food and children’s entertainment to more than 100 people. She says, “The Charity Days programme helps us to improve our work-life balance and there is great satisfaction from giving something back to society. Charities always need more hands to help and we use our energy to support them in a variety of ways.”
Steven Anderson, a Security Officer from the Ashridge team based in Manchester agrees, “I’ve been supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care, a great charity that did a tremendous job helping my mum when she became terminally ill. I did collections for them in a major retail store on my charity days and raised more than £100.”
In the latest developments, Ashridge Group has plans to launch its own charitable foundation within the next few months.
Emma Walker concludes, “This is the natural next step for us and we expect to fund the foundation directly from our own revenues, with a mission to aim and support projects, organisations and causes, primarily but not exclusively, in the local area. Our work brings us into contact with all levels of society and we believe we have much to contribute to the greater good, not just to our business sector.”