Here at DWF, Young Professionals are actively encouraged to participate CSR initiatives and often take the lead in raising funds for the DWF Foundation, which allocates charitable grants based upon application from organisations, many of which are based in the communities local to DWF offices. In this article, Eilidh Durkin and Siobhan Cameron, both solicitors in the Corporate team in Scotland, take a look at the initiatives that Young Professionals based in Scotland have been involved in this year, and how funds raised have been used to support local charities.
In both Glasgow and Edinburgh (DWF's Scottish offices), we have CSR Committees who put a lot of effort and time into raising funds for the DWF Foundation. The Committees meet regularly to come up with fundraising strategies and ideas. We rely on what we would call "CSR staples" including bake sales, roll runs, raffles and sweepstakes to raise a steady stream of funds throughout the year. Smaller events like that are fun ways to bring the office together and have been very popular in both offices with so many people keen to support the DWF Foundation. Since its inception, the DWF Foundation has provided a large number of grants to local charities around Glasgow and Edinburgh, with grants given to the following charities over the last twelve months to support specific projects within each of the charities:
To be able to support such a wide range of charities really makes the DWF Foundation unique. We encourage people in our offices to get in touch with charities with whom they have a personal connection to encourage them to apply for funding from the DWF Foundation. This has really helped to strengthen the engagement between the CSR Committees and people in both offices.
As well as raising funds for the DWF Foundation, the Scottish offices also support other external causes. At Christmas time, the Glasgow office supported the "Glasgow Spirit of Christmas" campaign while the Edinburgh office supported the "Edinburgh Women's Aid" appeal. Both of these appeals provided gifts for children who otherwise would not otherwise receive gifts. The support from everyone across both offices was tremendous and we were so heartened to be able to deliver more than we expected to both organisations. People within the office have also used their allocated volunteering hours to volunteer at a local foodbank and at pop-up shops for the Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity. At the 2019 Scotland Christmas party, we also raised £767.70 for the DWF Foundation through the annual raffle.
As we entered 2020, we embarked on an exciting (and quite daunting!) new challenge with a team being formed to take on a triathlon. For sveral members of the team, this was the perfect motivation to start training after a busy December period. Jill Sinclair, a partner in the Glasgow office, came up with the idea to take on this challenge after her nephew, Harry, was diagnosed with leukaemia in July 2019 and is bravely battling it. Over 20 of us have signed up to do the triathlon and our team is called "Harry's Heroes". In addition to raising funds for the the DWF Foundation, the Harry's Heroes team are also supporting local charity, "Its Good 2 Give", who provide support to young cancer patients and their families and who have supported Jill's family. In light of COVID-19, the triathlon has been postponed until September (it was due to be held at the start of May) but this has not stopped the team training and continuing to raise funds. The hard training began in January and the team was keen to do something that fitted around the lockdown restrictions. On 2 May, the team successfully completed a "lockdown triathlon" where a land-based movement was substituted instead of the swim. Some of the team added in an addition run (as if one run wasn't bad enough!) and others used a piece of cardio equipment for the third component. It felt great to still be able to do something and has motivated us all to keep going for the big event when it finally arrives!
As we find ourselves in the unfamiliar territory that COVID-19 has brought around, it has been encouraging to see that the DWF Foundation has continued to support local charities. Offices across the UK have been encouraged to submit the names of foodbanks to receive a grant of £500 from the DWF Foundation. To date, the DWF Foundation has supported the Glasgow North West Foodbank, 3D Drumchapel, the Wayside Club and Community One Stop Shop with this initiative. This support has been welcomed by the organisations whose services are required more than ever during this incredibly difficult period.
Over the next twelve months, as we adapt to our new environment, the CSR Committees in both offices will endeavour to continue to build upon the hard work to date raising funds for the DWF Foundation and supporting other local charities.
Authors: Eilidh Durkin and Siobhan Cameron
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