In 2016, naturalist and television presenter Chris Packham helped us launch a three-year legacy programme for schools called Proud to Bee, which promotes and supports biodiversity in the broader community. We’re working on this initiative with eco charity Plan Bee, which specialises in setting up and managing honeybee hives. Honeybees are in decline but without them, our food chain would be hit hard.
Through school sponsorship, we aim to educate young people about the plight of the honeybee, and inspire them to help restore the depleted population. This initiative also offers students the chance to join a school beekeeping club to learn to look after the bees as well as teaching marketing and fundraising skills so students can sell their own branded honey.
We've partnered up with Trinity High School in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, which has received two bee hives from us. We’ve also created an area of wild flowers and habitat for insects adjacent to two hives we’ve sponsored at our Glasgow depot. Our colleagues are enjoying the opportunity to learn about bees from a local beekeeper, and some have been given the chance to become our resident beekeepers. In the longer term, we’ll look to introduce hives at more of our sites.
SGN Facilities Manager Andy Breckenridge said: “Embarking on this innovative project is allowing us to do our bit to sustain the UK’s bee population for future generations, while at the same time giving us the opportunity to work with young people and build our relationship within the local community.
“Trinity High is the first school in South Lanarkshire to start a beekeeping project and we’re very Proud to Bee a part of that – excuse the pun.”
We're building upon the success of our partnership last year to help the Outward Bound Trust make a difference for disadvantaged young people. The Outward Bound Trust has been supporting the development of young people for over 70 years, providing them with challenging, adventurous and safe experiences in the outdoors. This year we're sponsoring 150 students to participate in programmes with the Outward Bound Trust. Our twelve mentors will join the students in the outdoors to help make it a positive experience.
Our partnership with the Outward Bound Trust is important to us because it aligns with our corporate responsibility objectives:
In 2014/15 we sponsored 96 students half of the programme costs, from schools in Glasgow, Portsmouth, Southwark and Bexley Heath. Eight SGN mentors were selected to participate in the programmes. After fostering a good relationship in the outdoors on Outward Bound, our mentors worked with schools to deliver projects to help the personal development of the young people they worked with.
Through their courses, young people develop self-awareness, confidence and a range of transferable skills that are valued by employers. Learning outcomes are achieved through the unique combination of people, process and place. The Outward Bound people are skilled outdoor educators. The locations are inspiring and challenging environments that act as a catalyst for changing behaviour with experiential learning in the outdoors. Continuous reflection helps young people transfer what they have learnt to their home and school environment.
Our Into Action scheme allows staff who raise money or give their time to UK-based registered charities to apply through the company for matched funds or time in relation to these activities. Last year we gave away over £50, 000 as part of our Into Action scheme.
You can read some stories about our Into Action fund in our news section.
We're supporting the Risk Factory in Edinburgh, LV Streetwise in Pool and Hazard Alley in Milton Keynes. These safety centres are great training grounds and the resources we've provided helps them to promote gas safety and carbon monoxide awareness in the community.
We've teamed up with the Royal Voluntary Service, sponsoring their Winter Wellness campaign since 2014, giving guidance to encourage older people, as well as their friends and family, to stay both physically and emotionally well during the colder months. We’ve helped to produce a free leaflet full of advice on how to keep safe, warm and in touch in winter. Royal Voluntary Service volunteers provide support to help older people live independently in their own homes. Paying regular visits to them, either to deliver meals, to have a chat, or accompany them on outings, Royal Voluntary Service volunteers make sure older members of the community have the help they need to get through the winter months.
This year we’ve also been visiting RVS events across Scotland and the south of England, to share information with their members, carers and volunteers, which will help them to stay safe and warm. We’ve been talking to them about four key areas: carbon monoxide (CO) awareness; our Help to Heat scheme; the Priority Services Register and locking cooker valves.
You can read more about our partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service here.
We’re continuing our partnership with Solutions for the Planet, and regional partners Tarmac, IGEM, Brammer Buck & Hickman, Mears Group and SUEZ, to deliver a high-quality, flexible community engagement programme to encourage young people explore opportunities and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
As part of the programme, our mentors help provide young people and school communities support to create, develop and implement innovative, sustainable business solutions which address key challenges facing our planet. These “Big Ideas” are designed to improve quality of life in society, the economy and the environment.
Focusing on subjects like water, waste and energy, the programme encourages people and organisations to:
• Say something
• Do something
• Change something
• Make something better
We’ll be working with schools across Scotland and the south of England, engaging with hundreds of students. Backed by our mentors, student teams will enter their solutions to a national competition with the final being held and judged at the Palace of Westminster in July 2019.
Our Community Action Programme (CAP) gives our employees the chance to spend a day volunteering for community or charity causes. Through CAP we're able to make a difference to grass roots charities and give back to the communities we work with. It also helps to foster an understanding within our workforce of the benefits of volunteering and raise awareness of community issues.
You can read more about some of our CAP days in our news section.
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