We recognise that building trusting relationships and supporting active and prosperous communities is vital to the sustainable future of our business.
In 2011, the Friends Life Group invested more than £1.48 million in community investment activities. We revamped our Community Programme, moving away from smaller local donations towards more strategic charity partnerships. We now focus our energy and resources on large-scale charity partnerships that make a significant difference to people’s lives. Selected through a company-wide vote, we support causes that are relevant to our business and to which we can offer meaningful, long-term strategic involvement. In 2011, Macmillan Cancer Support was chosen by Friends Life employees as our first official charity partner and the decision has been taken to continue the partnership for 2012.
For the first time this year, we introduced match funding from Friends Life through our ‘Give as you earn’ scheme. Rather than matching the more ad hoc employee fundraising activities we have supported in the past, we now match employee contributions through this formal scheme. A key part of our community programme, the scheme supports tax-free giving and Friends Life matches employee donations by up to £20 per month or £240 in a full year. Employees are able to choose which charity they wish to support. During this first year, 409 employees (7.9%) signed up and donated nearly £139,000 to charity. Including match funding, our total donations through the scheme amounted to over £198k. We aim to increase the number of employees involved in 2012.
We moved our focus this year away from literacy mentoring towards encouraging employees to volunteer as School Governors through a poster and intranet recruitment campaign. School governance is one of the most important volunteering roles in education. Governors support school staff and enable them to provide the best possible standards of education. At any one time there will be around 40,000 vacancies for School Governors across the country.
In 2011, over 1,000 Friends Life employees based around the world took part in fundraising, volunteering or giving to support social and environmental causes, investing more than 6,000 hours of company paid time and taking part in 35 community challenges with our partner, Community Service Volunteers (CSV). 18 employees regularly undertook school governor duties and 6 continue to be engaged in literacy mentoring.
The team from Friends Life are exceptional. They came in and took on all that was asked of them. They are caring, professional individuals who enjoy giving something back to the local community. Thank you.
Hop, Skip & Jump, Bristol
The team were brilliant. They were hard-working, committed and got stuck in. A nice group of individuals as well who worked together as a team. Many thanks.
The Woodland Trust, Bristol
Case study – Friends Life charity of the year
Partnership: Macmillan Cancer Support
Among their many vital services, Macmillan offer advice and support to help people deal with the sometimes unexpected financial effects of cancer. Throughout 2011, Friends Life employees, supported by a network of community ambassadors, undertook fundraising activities and raised over £40,000 to support our official charity partner. In June, Friends Life teams took part in the Bristol Dragon Boat Race and raised £4,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support; in July a sponsored bike ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End raised over £5,000 and in September we raised £5,175 by supporting the world’s biggest coffee morning event. The money raised for Macmillan Cancer Support will go towards funding a Welfare Benefits room at University College Hospital London, where people living with cancer, their loved ones and carers can speak to an expert for confidential financial advice.
Case study – Friends Provident International (FPI) staff improve Christmas for labourers in the United Arab Emirates
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the majority of building and infrastructure projects are completed by labourers from the sub-continent, men who work 12-hour shifts, six days a week for poor pay and living conditions.
In 2011, staff at FPI’s UAE office provided 33 Christmas bags containing items such as shaving cream, bed linen and towels, and sweets, drinks and biscuits. FPI matched the donation so that, in total, 66 bags were donated to the scheme to support workers over the Christmas period.
Case study – Friends Provident International (PFI) FPIronmen support cancer sufferers
After months of training, on Sunday 20th March 1,600 athletes congregated at the East Coast Park in Singapore ready to tackle the 70.3 mile race divided across three disciplines – swimming, biking and running. Three of our own intrepid athletes, Matt, Chris and Joel teamed up to swim 1.9km in open water, cycle 90km in temperatures around 28–30 degrees Celsius and run 21km between them. Out of 70 teams, we finished in 13th place in 5 hours 18 minutes and 57 seconds, beating our target by over 10 minutes and raising over £4,500 for Marie Curie. Well done to our FPIronmen.