Peterborough businesses come together for the greater good

BUSINESSPEOPLE from the private, charitable, voluntary and public sectors, gathered at the Learning Centre at Perkins on May10 for the official launch of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) forum.

Likened to a dating agency, the website helps put businesses interested in getting involved in CSR activities, or focusing their existing work towards Peterborough’s greatest needs, in touch with contacts and projects looking for support – either volunteers, investment, specialist expertise or in-kind donations.

Claire Higgins, director of operations at Cross Keys Homes, a founder member and major funding partner of the forum, said, “The event was a great success. It’s clear there are a lot of businesses already doing great work in the community and the forum will help target their efforts and encourage those still thinking about getting involved by providing the information and contacts to take that step into active support. It would be great if this event was the start of even bigger and better corporate social responsibility work across Peterborough.”

The forum heard from Richard Astle of Athene Communications and Rod Allerton of Thomas Cook about the origins of the concept of Side by Side and how all businesses in the city were members – whether they realised or not. They explained how founding businesses saw the need and benefit of the forum and how they were encouraged and directed by the voluntary, charitable and public sector to address areas which could really make a difference to the city: health and well-being, skills and employability, communities, and the environment.

Yvonne Puplett from Perkins told the forum about its work at Railworld over the last 17 years and the benefit the business gained from team building days at the environmental project.

Sandie Burns of DIAL urged employers to get involved in the Olympic Torch Relay project which will see 100 disabled people and their carers accompany the Olympic torch into Peterborough on the Nene Valley railway. And ‘Secret Millionaire’ Mike Greene described how getting involved in CSR work changed his life and how his current work with was helping small charities across the city.

Leader of Peterborough City Council Marco Cereste said the council would do all it could to support Side by Side and said the community and charitable activities of businesses through the forum was “that little bit extra” that Peterborough needed.

All businesses in the city were urged to visit the website, get involved in the projects featured, share success stories, and sign up for the forum’s e-newsletter.