The Ashridge Group Charity Foundation has been designed to support local charities and community groups in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. It provides free of charge knowledge sharing and accredited training courses in subjects such as First Aid, manual handling and safeguarding, as well as awarding financial assistance to various charitable and community group projects and campaigns. Support ranges from enabling difficult discussions, sourcing volunteers and strategy planning through to financial planning, cost-saving efficiencies and reviewing sustainability.
Comprised of Ashridge Security Management, Ashridge Facilities Management and consultancy firm Cognitious, the Ashridge Group was founded in 2012 by Group managing director Emma Walker and chairman Mark Walker, who are both strong advocates for charitable causes. Indeed, Emma Walker is also chair of the Hertfordshire division of Crimestoppers UK.
Based in Aylesbury, the Buckinghamshire Business Awards Company of the Year 2018 provides FM, security services and consultancy to sectors as diverse as corporates, live entertainment venues, rail and Critical National Infrastructure clients. Championing a people-oriented approach to business development, the company also looks to develop partnerships with other companies and charities in the county as part of its aim to support the growth of the local economy and wider community.
Improving communications between charities
One of the key goals of the Ashridge Group Charity Foundation is to improve communications between individual charities. Despite receiving adequate funding, many charities often do not have the high level of business acumen which allows them to fully capitalise on collaboration opportunities. By encouraging charities to share with each other, the Ashridge Group Charity Foundation aims to achieve reduced costs for all involved and promote the leveraging of individual strengths and specialisms.
Ashridge Group believes in encouraging its own employees to support the charity sector and gives each member of staff two extra days of holiday to devote to good causes every year. All employees are free to choose the charity they would like to support. The range of organisations benefiting is highly diverse, including major nationals such as the British Heart Foundation and Macmillan as well as locally-based beneficiaries including MK Snap.
“Our company has always put the well-being of its people at the heart of our philosophy,” stated Emma Walker. “The Ashridge Group Charity Foundation is the natural next step for us and we expect to fund it directly from our own revenues, with a mission to aid and support projects, organisations and causes, primarily but not exclusively in the local area. Our work brings us into contact with all types of people and we believe we have much to contribute to the greater good, not just to our own business sector.”
Support for Transitions UK
One recent beneficiary of the Ashridge Group Charity Foundation is Transitions UK, which supports disadvantaged young people aged 15 to 25. The charity recently launched a new project in Milton Keynes to provide vital support to young people leaving care, as well as those with special needs, emotional and mental health problems or those at risk of offending or re-offending. Ashridge Group pledged its support to the cause and welcomed Transitions UK to the region by presenting the organisation with a £5,000 donation cheque.
Mark Walker said: “Ashridge Group currently employs a number of young and enthusiastic staff and apprentices, so we have seen first-hand the benefits of helping young people aspire to be all they can be. It’s no coincidence that poverty and crime go together. Many turn to crime because of their current social situation. We believe in creating pathways that will steer people away from that lifestyle. Not only will this directly improve individual lives, but there are wider benefits as well. Investing in a positive future for young people now is significantly less economically damaging than if they remain on a pathway to prison. In areas of consistent growth, new homes are continuously built, but the trade-off is that older stock housing isn’t being regenerated. There may be an abundance of new jobs regularly available, but these are often highly qualified positions. We aim to address this social gap now and take a long-term approach in order to change mindsets early on and improve situations.”