Our CR programme is very much relationship driven. We focus on a small number of community partners and take time to get to know them to develop meaningful, multi-faceted relationships, with the aim of making a real and lasting difference.
- Alison Klarfeld, Head of Corporate Responsibility
We work with a variety of schools, programmes and charities on areas that are key to helping them make a difference.
Our community engagement programme focuses mainly on the London boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Southwark. We support our community partners by offering our time, skills, cash and in-kind donations. Social inclusion is an important part of our community engagement programme and we work with a number of schools, colleges and not-for-profit organisation to provide opportunities, skills training and advice to young people. In this area, we collaborate closely with our Social Inclusion & Ethnicity task-group.
We have been working with Manor Primary since 2007, starting with a volunteer reading scheme. Over the years our relationship has grown to include a volunteer numbers scheme, annual ‘world of work’ days at BLP for the Year 6 pupils, sponsoring and helping to deliver Young Enterprise projects, running sports days and helping to subsidise the cost of school trips.
“BLP provides our children with opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to experience. The volunteers show them what their lives could be like and give them a chance to think about personal aspirations. BLP volunteers give so much time to the school and show that they are genuinely interested in what goes on and what we do. All of our children, parents and staff really benefit from their involvement.” Kate McGee, Head Teacher, Manor Primary School
St Hilda’s East is a vibrant community centre operating across two sites in Tower Hamlets, providing educational, social and recreational activities for a multi-cultural population of all ages. We have been working together since 2007, including running a weekly pro bono clinic at their second site, Sonali Gardens Day Centre, supporting their Older People’s Project and providing pro bono support.
“BLP’s support is particularly important in this climate as demand is increasing. It is very difficult to get funding for advice and we would struggle to keep the clinics open without their help. BLP also supports our Older People’s Project. Most of our service users are over 75 years old, housebound, with few or no friends and family and they can become very isolated as a result. BLP has arranged for our older users to visit places like the Tower of London and go down the River Thames on a boat trip, as well as organising Christmas parties for them.” Rupert Williams, Director, St Hilda’s East
We have been working with the More Able Programme Manager of both schools since 2013 to provide a range of programmes for their most talented students. This includes BLP Career Routes, a three month programme that we designed in conjunction with the schools to provide an insight into careers in the City as well as skills training and mentoring for 16 students each year.
15billion-ebp forges links between schools and businesses to help young people in Newham schools and colleges develop the skills and qualities needed for the world of work. BLP has worked with 15billion and its predecessor, NEBP since 2006. We participate in a number of their programmes aimed at raising the aspirations of young people in Newham.
We encourage all of our lawyers to undertake pro bono work, utilising their skills to provide advice and assistance to not-for-profit organisations and individuals who cannot afford to pay for that advice or representation and where public funding is not available. As well as more traditional pro bono work within the specialist area of the lawyers taking part, we are also involved in a number of innovative initiatives, drawing on the skills of our lawyers, including:
MiCLU is a specialist legal agency based at Islington Law Centre that seeks to promote the rights of migrant and refugee children in the UK. In collaboration with three other firms, we set up a research project to compile a database of asylum law and country research know-how on the law relating to child asylum seekers. This database will eventually be accessible to lawyers at various law centres working in this area. Our volunteer lawyers undertake research briefs on issues selected by specialist lawyers at MiCLU.
We are members of LawWorks and participate in a number of their projects, including a new secondary specialisation project providing welfare benefits lower tier tribunal representation. In pairs, our trained pro bono volunteer lawyers help clients with preparing their submission and assist with representation at the tribunal hearing.
In partnership with St Hilda's East and LawWorks, we have been running a weekly pro bono drop-in clinic at Sonali Gardens Day Centre in Shadwell since October 2007. The clinic offers general legal guidance in various areas of law, including housing, welfare benefits, employment and consumer. All of the volunteer advisers on the rota are from BLP, assisted by reception staff from St Hilda's and law student volunteers from Queen Mary University. We also fund a welfare benefits specialist to attend the weekly sessions and work alongside the volunteers to further enhance the service that we offer to clients at the clinic.
We also work with other pro bono brokering organisations such as TrustLaw and act for a variety of pro bono clients meeting the criteria of our pro bono policy.
We support a range of charities with staff fundraising and corporate giving.
Our charity of the year selection process is designed to be as fair and transparent as possible, and to closely involve the people who work at BLP in the UK. The process is overseen by the Charities Fundraising Committee (the 'CFC') who also organise a programme of fundraising events and activities during the course of the charity year. BLP provides financial support to enable these events to take place.
The charity year starts on 1 May, with the selection process beginning with a request to staff for nominations in early February. The process is entirely internal and we are not able to accept external applications from charities. Members of staff are invited to complete a Charity of the Year Proposal Form and submit it to the CFC by a stated deadline. The CFC, following prescribed guidelines and criteria, draw up a shortlist and circulate this to BLP staff, inviting them to vote for the charity they would like to support. The charity with the most votes is selected as BLP’s charity of the year.
In recent years we have supported Mind, The A-T Society, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, Brainwave, Rainbow Trust Children's Charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust, Havens Hospices, Treloar Trust and Friends of the Elderly.
Anthony Nolan works to save the lives of people with blood cancers like leukaemia, who need a stem cell or bone marrow transplant to survive.
Every 20 minutes someone in the UK will be diagnosed with a blood cancer or blood disorder. But thanks to Anthony Nolan, three people a day are given the chance of life with a transplant.
The charity’s work doesn’t end when it finds a donor for someone in need. It supports patients at every step of their journey by providing advice, information and nursing care.
Anthony Nolan can’t yet find a match for everyone, and BLP hopes to help the charity increase its donor database through awareness-raising initiatives and to purchase a DNA Fragment Analyser to enable more successful matches between donors and recipients.
As well as our charity of the year fundraising, we also support a number of other charities with staff collections (cash and in-kind) including London Legal Support Trust, Comic Relief, The Manna Society and The Royal British Legion.
Our international offices run local CR initiatives organised by people from those offices, with support from the CR team in our London office. By way of example: