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At Franks Portlock, we work hard to ensure that we have a positive impact in the environments and communities we work in. Here, Cathryn Dickinson, Administrator (Company and Technical) and member of the Franks Portlock Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Team provides and insight into our 2019 CSR activity.

Please provide an overview of your CSR activity in 2019

2019 was my first year as a member of the Franks Portlock Corporate Social Responsibility Team and it was a very busy year at that! Within my role, I am based at the Franks Portlock HQ in Sunderland, and one of the things I really enjoyed about joining our CSR Team was working with colleagues in our other offices and discovering what they were doing in their communities to make a difference.

In 2019 we were able to help some great charities throughout the UK, from North Tyneside Learning Trust to Children’s Hospices Across Scotland and Hospice at Home West Cumbria, as well as many more. I loved finding out about these organisations and the great work they’re doing but I was also surprised to learn how much support they need. For example, Hospice at Home West Cumbria needs to raise over £1 million each year to deliver its vital services. That’s why we chose to support its Kapow! Superhero Challenge in Cockermouth again last summer. It was a fantastic opportunity to get the whole company together, including family and friends, for a fun day out whilst supporting a truly worthy cause. We assembled our very own superhero squad of Wonder Women, Captain America and Harley Quinn who travelled from all over the UK for the day. The kids had a brilliant day and loved the giant inflatables, slides, tunnels and foam-filled finish.

Closer to home, this year I worked a lot with Grace House in Sunderland. They provide overnight short breaks for children and young people with additional needs, from across the North East. We also moved our monthly CSR Team Meeting into their meeting room, mainly to use the great facilities, but over the year this really helped me understand the work they do and why it’s so important. This was probably what helped me to sell so many of their raffle tickets, including a winning one!

What does CSR mean to Franks Portlock?

At Franks Portlock, we believe Corporate Social Responsibility is a way to assess the impact we have on society and is an acknowledgement that we understand our responsibility towards our environment, employees, customers, community and suppliers. We are committed to being a socially responsible business internally and externally, and to do this we integrate our CSR commitments into business decisions, minimising the impact our business has on the environments we operate in, and finding and supporting great people to work for us. Our CSR policy is underpinned by our company policies to embed this thinking in our culture.

In addition, for our employees, CSR work provides a great opportunity for team building, staff engagement and overall it is a great boost for morale.

Do you have any advice for businesses looking to implement their own CSR strategy?

One of the most important elements of a successful CSR strategy is employee engagement. Stephen and Phil wanted us to work really hard in 2019 to try and give all our employees the power to decide what’s important to them when it comes to CSR. We asked everyone to vote for the charities or causes they want to support and to put forward suggestions for other ways we can operate ethically and contribute more. Some of the ideas are exciting (and a bit daunting!) which means we have some great things to look forward to throughout 2020. We will be sharing more information in the coming months about our 2020 CSR work – so please do keep an eye out!

Find out more about our Social Responsibility here: