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The modern responsibilities of business

Carlisle Ambassadors hear about corporate social responsibility

Carlisle Ambassadors held their latest meeting at Carlisle Racecourse on Thursday 13th June, where the city’s assembled business leaders learnt about the importance of corporate social responsibility for companies, non-profits, and employees alike.

Elizabeth Atkinson from Kaefer Ltd, outlined how they as a company play a role in the communities in which they operate. She discussed the positive effect the company and its staff have on the social fabric of the community as a whole, and on the well-being of individuals and families within those communities. She outlined the benefits to both the company, the staff and the wider community, by highlighting some of the projects her colleagues were involved with; including Cash For Kids, West Cumbria Age UK, Business in the Community, North Lakes Food Bank, Café West and West Cumbria Carers.

She then went on to describe that Kaefer have acknowledged that their strong culture of corporate social responsibility, has created a positive and productive environment in which their employees thrive, developing professionally and personally, and as a result in the long term add more value to the company.

This messaging was reinforced with a presentation by the team behind Give A Day to the City (GAD), made up of Jenny Benson from Cumbria Community Foundation, who talked about the importance of supporting local good causes and outlined the support that Cumbria Community Foundation have provided to good causes in their 20 year history, including GAD, delivering grants to the value of £1.8m in the last 5 years to 351 community groups 83 individuals across Carlisle.

Andy Fearon, who started GAD, then talked about the difference that the project has made to local communities, the relationships that have developed between local businesses, their staff and local people and the difference that working together has made to all involved.

Roger Smith, MD of Thomas Graham, one of the project supporters, with Melanie Taylor from M Taylor Associates and Andy Dodds from Carlisle College, followed up by highlighting some of the 90 projects that 2,000 volunteers have delivered, helping over 6,000 people across Carlisle so far and encouraged other Carlisle Ambassadors to get involved in the next Give A Day, which is set to run this year between 30th June and 06th July.

Economic development and business roundups followed, highlighting the continued growth and development across the City.
Steve Robinson from Carlisle City Council highlighted a significant milestone projects for the City, including The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, St Cuthbert’s Garden Village, the Southern Link Road and the City Centre investment strategy.
Greg Stephenson from Carlisle Ambassadors outlined continued business investment across the City, including the new Pioneer Food Hall at Rosehill, the new Sytner Mercedes showroom at Kingmoor, the MOD Village at Kingmoor Park, the four acre solar farm at Kingmoor Park, the Burge Halston development of Portland Square, Aspatria Farmer’s new build in Longtown and DSD Construction’s new HQ at Kingmoor Park.

Michelle Masters, Carlisle Ambassadors, project lead, then rounded up with an insight into the continued growth of Carlisle Ambassadors, the ever-increasing engagement levels across a variety of platforms both online and offline and welcomed representatives from both Bolton and Preston councils interested in developing a similar model to the one operated in Carlisle.

Emma Skelton from Warwick Mill and Becky Towns from the Cumberland Building Society, two of the business mentors working with Young Carlisle Ambassadors gave an overview of the important role businesses play in championing young people for future business growth as part of Corporate Social Responsibility. They also outlined the forthcoming Young Carlisle Ambassadors Opportunity event being held in the City centre on 21st September between 10am and 4pm and urged Ambassadors to get involved.

Michelle said: ‘’We often think that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is something associated with big business, but that’s not the case, it’s a vitally important part of any modern business, no matter what size. You don’t have to do a lot, you can volunteer some time as many people do with Give A Day to support a local organisations and charities, you can donate goods or money to a good cause or support your local school. Whatever you choose to do it clearly demonstrates your businesses continuing commitment to behave ethically and contribute to economic development, whilst improving the quality of life of your employees and their families as well as of the local community and wider society. Having a positive social purpose and a strong core message that really resonates can ultimately also be the main business differentiator in ensuring people from within your community do business with you and in retaining your staff long term.’’