Feasibility study leads to greater CSR

Feasibility study leads to greater CSR opportunities for Wakefield businesses

Thanks to its growing popularity, Community Foundation for Wakefield District, which was founded in 2007, has been able to establish good business relationships across the region, which has been driven, in part, by local businesses seeking to implement, improve and maintain links with the local community, as well as their commitment to their corporate social responsibilities (CSR), which first saw corporate appeal after the UK Government published its ambitious vision for CSR in 2002.

The Community Foundation for Wakefield District, which is both a charity and a non-profit organisation, is ideally placed to work with businesses from across Wakefield District, because of their connection with over 300 registered charities and community groups in the region. “Our aim is to connect local businesses with local community groups and charities. We can show businesses that by letting us work with them they can support both their local community and their own organisation at the same time – we can help them deliver their CSR programmes on their own doorstep.” Stated Shona Walsh, CEO of Community Foundation for Wakefield District.

Back in 2007, the Community Foundation for Wakefield Steering Group undertook a feasibility study to establish if the concept of a community foundation could be made to work in Wakefield. The study had three primary objectives, which was to establish whether there would actually be support for a community foundation, if there would be sufficient potential sources of funding and support from businesses and private donors within the district and, was there enough charitable needs that could be identified.

The findings of the feasibility study found that there were areas in the district that fell within the bottom 10%, and even 5% of the Government’s social deprivation scale; and that socially excluded groups within the region were not sharing in the increasing prosperity of the area. Moreover, the economic and demographic profiling section of the study found that Wakefield was to be less wealthy than many other districts, but with a relatively strong upward trend. It was also found that in the East and South East of the district (Hemsworth, South Kirkby, South Elmsall, Castleford and Ferry Fryston) there was fairly widespread deprivation, with pockets in Wakefield City itself.

Since the feasibility study was completed a number of high-profile community representatives have become trustees of Community Foundation for Wakefield District – Comprising the Bishop of Wakefield, Rt Rev Stephen Platten, who is also its Chairman, and Sir Norman Bettison, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police; as well as an impressive list of members from both local businesses and multi-nationals, including recently appointed trustee Mohan de Silva, CEO of First.

Rt Rev Stephen Platten commented: “Community Foundation for Wakefield District has made a significant difference to the lives of those living in Wakefield since it was founded back in 2007, especially those that are disadvantaged and socially deprived.”

Although The Community Foundation for Wakefield District works with both private and corporate donors, one advantage for individuals is the associated tax relief, which plays a part in most UK donations, the most well-known example being Gift Aid. The foundation works with private and corporate clients and their professional advisor’s, such as solicitors and accountants to make sure the donation will be as effective as possible, including being able to set up a Named Fund, which acts like a charitable trust and can be set up after just one meeting.

“The Community Foundation for Wakefield District has firmly established itself within the heart of Wakefield, working with and building strong relationships with community groups, charitable organisations, private donors and businesses from across the district. Two key roles achieved by the Community Foundation have been to become an expert grant-maker and a philanthropy advisor – two roles I am happy to confirm we have successfully established.” Added Mohan de Silva.

To find out more about the work and services offered by Community Foundation for Wakefield District, or to become involved and offer support visit www.communityfoundationwakefield.co.uk, or call Shona on 01924 789 166.

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