Like many members of the CBI, Clarke Willmott LLP has developed an active community programme, which includes fundraising but also more direct, ‘face-to-face’ engagement in projects involving physical contributions to help local charities.
At Clarke Willmott, people at every level are given a day of paid leave each year to get involved in a community project or charity initiative of their choosing.
Working in and with the community has become an important part of the firm’s culture and has enhanced the Clarke Willmott brand.
One particular association (which encompasses contributions in cash and in time and effort) is support for the Bristol charity Ablaze. Ablaze is an organisation that organises reading buddies and mentors for children in local primary and secondary schools. Ablaze identifies the schools and manages the relationship and the administration for example, CRB checks. As a result, the skills and the confidence of the children and their performance inside and outside school have improved dramatically. And the sense of achievement amongst the Clarke Willmott staff who are engaged in this work has been a major benefit.
A by-product of this scheme has been the introduction of ordinary working people into the lives of children whose family members may not be in employment. It offers them role models and introduces the children to the fascinating world of careers and work. Children who may rarely (if ever) travel from their homes to the centre of Bristol enjoy opportunities to visitthe workplaces of their mentors and have the chance to see the working world.
The work done by Ablaze is run on a modest budget but produces valuable dividends, not only for the children, but also for their mentors.
Michael Clarke is a Partner of Clarke Willmott LLP