Corporate Social Responsibility
For many years Oliver & Co have supported ethical and sustainable business practices and have tried to make a positive impact in our local community. In 2018 we formalised our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We developed a CSR policy and set up a core team to review and improve our CSR practices. The team meets regularly to discuss our programme of events, monitor progress and think of new ways we can serve our community.
We believe businesses have a responsibility to support the communities they serve. With the help of the CSR team, we actively seek out ways to make this responsibility a practical reality. We practice CSR is four main areas:
Oliver & Co’s community involvement comes in many guises – from training, sponsorship and pro bono work to fundraising and volunteering in our free time. In the last two years we have seen a shift in the attitude of all our staff. Now almost everyone wants to get involved, morale is higher, and we all feel more connected to the world around us. It is genuinely a win-win.
Pro-bono work and sponsorship
In recent years we have provided our legal services pro-bono to local community initiatives for the benefit of others. This has taken many forms, from ad hoc legal advice to entire business services for charitable organisations.
We offer legal services to the Hospice of the Good Shepherd at a series of Will Clinics. The hospice has supported several of our staff and their families through particularly difficult periods in their lives. In the last 12 months, we’ve raised £8,940 for the hospice by waiving our fees for Will writing in exchange for a donation, which goes directly to supporting patients and their families.
In addition, for the second year running we have sponsored their yearly ‘fun-run’ – Foamtastic Colourblast. In September 2019, the event raised £14,738 and our staff enjoyed volunteering their time to help run the event.
We support other projects such as the Blacon Community Sports Hub, a community initiative in conjunction with the local High School, providing local youngsters an opportunity to participate in sporting activities such as football and boxing, helping to address childhood obesity and ensuring that local youngsters have a place where they can spend their time constructively.
For the last two years we have sponsored AmaSing and in 2020 we are delighted to be involved again for a third year. AmaSing is a community initiative that works with schools to enhance children’s well-being, confidence and self-esteem through music and the arts, culminating in a series of performances across the region. Our involvement includes providing funding for rehearsals, workshops, concerts, a VIP night and volunteering at each event.
West Cheshire Foodbank
Every year our staff vote for a cause to be our ‘Charity of the Year.’ In 2019-2020 it was the West Cheshire Foodbank, a charity aiming to combat poverty and hunger in our local area.
In 2019 we set up a food donation station at our office and encouraged our staff to donate food items from their list of wanted items. In 12 months, we donated 320.18 kg of food to the foodbank which went towards creating three-day emergency food parcels for 25 local families in need.
Also through a series of fundraising events held throughout the year, including dress-down days and carpark raffles, we raised £1,342.27, which allowed them to bulk buy much needed food items along with a defibrillator and case for use by the charity and other surrounding businesses.
Throughout the year a number of our staff volunteered in their regular supermarket food drives, encouraging shoppers to pick up an extra item for the Foodbank.
We aim to build a culture that promotes employee volunteering and actively provide our staff with ideas and opportunities for volunteering. In 2019, 78% of our staff were actively involved in volunteering in our local community, totalling approximately 512 man hours. All volunteering hours are outside of work hours, so our staff are truly giving up their free time to help the local community.
We support the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Bag It – Beat It’ campaign, encouraging our staff to donate their unwanted items. To date we have collected items worth over £5,000, making us their top corporate donation station in Cheshire.
Not forgetting our furry friends, during Christmas 2019 our staff collected treats and toys for Harvey’s Army, a charity supporting animals in rescue centres.
For many years we have donated money as a company and supported our staff in fundraising events for many charitable organisations.
As a company, we support The Amputation Foundation, a charity supporting amputees and medical professionals in giving amputees the best start. Oliver & Co has established Personal Injury and Medical Negligence departments and, as such, we help amputees to claim compensation. As a result of our work, we understand the important role this charity has in supporting amputees as they adjust to life after amputation.
In November 2019, for the second year running, we organised a fundraising charity gig, featuring one of our solicitors in a local band, to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. We raised £1,026 from ticket sales and a raffle. We have been supporting this charity for 11 years and to date we have raised an amazing £36,938.64, to assist them with the valuable services they provide for many of our clients and their families.
We recognise that our employees make us who we are. We encourage professional development, support employee health and well-being and actively foster an environment of openness and understanding of mental and physical health issues. In 2019 we launched an employee mental and physical well-being campaign which included a ‘Couch to 5k’ running group and distance learning opportunities for all staff.
Disabled access has always been important to us and as such our offices have disabled facilities for wheelchair users and clients with other disabilities. We have a hearing loop in Reception and a portable hearing loop for use in meetings and all of our employees have had ‘Deaf Awareness Training’, allowing them to offer the best service to client with hearing impairments. For further information about disabled access, or if you need extra help, please contact us on 01244 312306.
We are committed to helping and encouraging the next generation to pursue careers in law. We understand that work experience can be pivotal to shaping the future of people in education and so are committed to offering work experience at our firm every year.
We encourage all staff to think about the environment and have put several measures in place companywide to do our bit for the environment. These have included investing in a new energy efficient climate control system to heat/cool our office, installing hand dryers in all toilets, providing reusable glasses instead of disposable plastic cups at our water dispensers and employing intelligent waste management for all our waste.
We have set out in our policy our aim to build and maintain the highest standards from our suppliers and we are committed to trading in an ethical and honest manner, with client service being our highest level of priority.
Cheshire Business Awards
In 2019 we were proud to have our CSR work recognised as a runner up in the Cheshire Business Awards in the category of Corporate Social Responsibility.
The coming year
For 2020-2021, our chosen charity of the year is Claire House, a local children’s hospice supporting families of children with life limiting conditions. We can’t wait to meet with them once it is safe to do so to discuss different ways we can help them over the next year. In the meantime, we have launched our 10 for £10 Challenge where we are asking our staff and the public to come up with a challenge involving the number 10, complete it and donate £10 to Claire House. If you would like to donate to our challenge you can visit our JustGiving page.
In 2020 we plan to continue to support the key charities and community initiatives we have helped in 2019 and will look to add to the campaigns we support where we can.
We have learnt that the unexpected may happen and even small gestures can help in times of need. Therefore, we strive to always look carefully at what we do and be flexible in our approach. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have closed our city centre office but kept our car park open to key workers from our local Boots store so they can drive to work and not have to use public transport.
David Owen, one of the Directors of Oliver & Co says “The formation of our CSR team has been a good move. Now we have a more formal way to measure and grow our CSR capabilities. We recognise we still have improvements to make but are enjoying the challenge we have set ourselves and are learning from others as we go.”
“That said, we are proud of what we have achieved so far and are looking forward to seeing improvements in the coming weeks, months and years. Recent events with COVID-19 have taught us that the chance to give to our community has never been so important as now.”
How can we help?
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