Philip Allen who cycled 750 kilometres during lockdown for charity
Our commitment to making a difference to society is one of the things our people often tell us that they value most about a career at Cambridge Assessment. We believe in the power of strong communities, a sense of belonging and ensuring that no one gets left behind. This year, we have launched a number of programmes and initiatives that are helping us to invest in our communities and support our people to give back.
In January 2020, we launched three new charity partnerships for 2020–22. Working with Coventry and Warwickshire Mind and Cambridge’s Blue Smile, we are supporting their mission to provide mental health support for primary and secondary age children in Warwickshire and Cambridgeshire. Poor mental health can have a devastating effect on young people’s ability to access education, and we are proud to support the work of these two charities with fundraising and various digital volunteering projects to get more children back in the classroom. We are also supporting SOS Children’s Villages to grow and sustain their Youth Employability programme in The Gambia, providing young people with the skills to launch a career, with the security of a family and a home to help them thrive.
Despite a challenging fundraising landscape, our employee-led charity committees switched to digital fundraising channels in March 2020 and organised online step challenges, quizzes and seminars for colleagues, raising almost £5,000 for charity to date. Alongside these formal partnerships, our people continue to be active fundraisers and raise money for individual causes in a huge range of areas. Star fundraisers this year have included Shahida Rahman who raised over £15,000 via an online campaign and Philip Allen who cycled 750 kilometres during lockdown to raise £1,460 for The Trussell Trust food bank network. In Coventry, Wendy Richards raised £3,105, smashing her £2,000 target for Myton Hospice by virtually cycling from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.
Social distancing has presented challenges for in-person volunteering this year, but by embracing digital volunteering projects and contributing to a range of community mutual aid initiatives, our people have contributed over 1,210 volunteer hours. The projects include a Cambridge English sponsored partnership with the Partnership for Digital Learning and Increased Access. Volunteer mentors are linked with individuals in refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon looking to improve their English language skills to better access a range of opportunities, including higher education. Via our proactive Refugee Support Committee, our people continue to build expertise in supporting refugee communities globally, running a highly successful Refugee Week programme, raising awareness of the difficulties faced by displaced peoples and linking colleagues with a number of charities in Cambridge to provide supplies to refugees in Calais.
In June 2020 we were delighted to announce a partnership with Inspiring Governance, a charity that connects skilled volunteers interested in serving as school governors and trustees with schools in England. As a School Governor Champion, we have pledged to support our people to give their vast range of knowledge and experience to local schools as board members.
Strong, resilient communities are a key factor in building a sustainable society, and we believe in investing in the communities where we are based. OCR is a proud supporter of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 and this year we have actively supported a range of initiatives in the West Midlands area. We are a supporter of FRIDAYS youth club in Coventry, which provides a safe place for 14- to 17-year-olds to be inspired by a range of community and business leaders, and encourages young people to go on to higher education, training, work or entrepreneurship.
Once again, we supported the annual Bridge the Gap walk in Cambridge to raise funds for Romsey Mill and the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, encouraging friends, families and communities to come together safely to celebrate their city in a safe, socially distanced way. This year has also given us an opportunity to focus on supporting the most vulnerable in society and, as well as continuing with our regular donations of excess food supplies to the charity Wintercomfort, we have remained a key supporter of Cambridge Sustainable Food, helping to get valuable nutrition to families in need across the local area.
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