Our 2023 Social Impact Report captures the Paddington Partnership’s Community Programme highlights from the last 12 months, as we engaged more volunteers and supported a greater number of beneficiaries than ever before across our six key stands of work - investing in young people, enhancing the local environment, tackling social isolation, transforming community spaces, promoting life sciences and channelling donations.
Over 9,300 volunteering hours were given from 36 Paddington companies, supporting 38 charities, schools and community groups. Recording headline figures, testimonies from our valued corporate and community partners and photographs of projects and programmes in action, we seek to celebrate and showcase a record-breaking year.
Investing in young people
Investing in young people was at the heart of a third of our projects in 2023. We have enabled students at eight Westminster schools to have direct contact with Paddington-based companies through one-off workshops, workplace visits and mock interviews; as well as longer term mentoring and financial literacy programmes. We were delighted to re-launch our regular reading support at King Solomon Academy from January, which had ceased with the pandemic, and to once again be able to visit Heathrow Airport as part of an innovative travel training programmes with Heathrow Express and local learning disability charity Pursuing Independent Paths (PiP). As part of their visit in August 2023, PiP students had the opportunity to travel on and design a wrap for the driverless electric pod vehicles at Terminal 5. We’re looking forward to seeing the winning artwork unveiled early in 2024; a fantastic example of the unique and memorable opportunities arising out of the connections we help build between the corporate world and the Paddington community.
HEX colleagues support PiP students to complete their creative pod wrapper designs.
Riding in style! Pods prove a very popular with PiP students.
Reducing loneliness and digital exclusion
Reducing loneliness and digital exclusion accounted for a fifth of our impact, in recognition of the significant determinant loneliness can be to individual and societal wellbeing. Marking the coronation with a right royal sing-a-long, Union Jack adorned tableware and a tea party fit for a King certainly felt a suitable way to mark a moment in history, but our volunteers have visited care homes and community centers right throughout they year to host parties, coffee mornings, social lunches, quiz and craft sessions for 596 guests.
A volunteer from Derwent London supports a care home resident to complete a coronation themed quiz.
Party time! Volunteers hang bunting ahead of a summer garden party attended by 80 older people.
Transforming community spaces
Transforming community spaces is another central pillar and ever popular with teams who enjoy the opportunity to roll up their sleeves, escape screens, connect with colleagues and see the impact made in a short amount of time. On 30 August 2023, we welcomed our largest number of volunteers to one location, when 77 employees representing 11 Paddington companies helped the recently amalgamated St Mary Magdalene and St Stephen’s CE Primary School prepare for the start of term.
“What truly made this day so rewarding was the teamwork. Everyone came together and got stuck in to transform this school in a day. I loved speaking to new faces and working with grads and placement students from Vodafone that I hadn’t met before.” Holly Turner, Brand and Media IP Vodafone
Exhausted but feeling a great sense of achievement. The end of a busy volunteer day at St Mary Magdalene and St Stephen's CE Primary School.
Enhancing the environment
Championing environmental sustainability is a CSR priority for all our Paddington businesses and we’ve continued to offer opportunities in gardens, parks and playgrounds, as well as on and off the water. In all weathers teams have mowed, sowed and weeded green spaces; planting more than 1,350 bulbs and flowers and removing nearly 200 sacks of litter from the canal and towpath.
Volunteers determined to plough on with clearing overgrown hedges, despite the downpours.
A sunnier day in store for these Visa colleagues tending to the Penfold Hub garden.
Promoting life sciences
A new strand of work for 2023 has been our involvement in Paddington Life Science Partners. This has driven a focus on promoting careers in life sciences to students in schools and colleages locally. We've also led a programme of monthly community walks for St Mary’s hospital staff since May 2023. Tangible outcomes from these have already been seen, including successful joint funding bids between Imperial NHS Trust and charity partners in Church Street and NHS colleagues committing to provide health information and attend careers events at local schools.
Community walk attendees in Church Street, having just met with womens empowerment organisation, Mosaic.
Pupils from The Marylebone CE School visit health data company IQVIA's offices in Paddington.
Christmas is always a particularly popular time for giving, although the Community Programme has channelled donations to a value of £107,000 throughout the year. The generosity of our corporate partners is set to continue, with 15 schools and charities already eagerly awaiting the arrival of recycled Smartawood garden furniture in February 2024. The items include picnic benches, planters and seating; all made from recycled products donated to the plastic take-back scheme at Marks & Spencer stores.
We hope you enjoy learning more about our social-action packed year in the full report. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Community Team if you would like further information about any of our strands of work or how you could be involved in 2024.