With happy colleagues, satisfied customers and a profitable Group we are able to take the 4Cs full circle by taking an active part in serving our communities. We focus our efforts locally so that we play an active role in the communities where we work and live and do this by being a good neighbour, investing in local education initiatives and looking after our environment.
Being a good neighbour
Our Charity Events Committee is made up entirely of colleagues who volunteer to organise fundraising events throughout the year for local charities nominated by colleagues. The Hastings Community Fund provides a helping hand to local individuals or groups by providing advice, physical support or small grants to help with fundraising. In 2018 we raised over £54,000 for local charities and organisations and gave over 7,700 hours of practical or professional advice or support through our community days.
Investing in local education initiatives
We have significant interaction with schools, colleges and universities in and around our communities to help develop, attract and nurture home grown talent. In 2018 we started the fourth year of the ‘Be the Change’ programme in Bexhill and Leicester which aims to raise the aspirations of local 13 - 14 year olds. The programme is designed to help remove barriers that may make students disengage from school and in life and provide them with life skills to help shape their future. Our colleagues volunteer as business mentors to help support the students with anecdotal and professional advice and guidance. Hastings continues to be the only corporate organisation to sponsor a full bespoke Be the Change programme in the UK.
Be the Change gives colleagues the opportunity to make a difference to the education and career paths of Year 9 students from two secondary schools, one each in Bexhill and Leicester. Over 940 students have taken part in the programme since it launched in 2015 and over 210 colleagues have been business mentors, with many returning year after year. This year, the Group’s Chair, Gary Hoffman, who participated in the first event, was appointed as the Group’s BeTheChange ambassador.
Looking after our environment
The Group’s direct operations are purely office based and as such have a relatively low impact on the environment compared to other industries, however, we seek to improve the Group’s and our colleagues’ footprint as much as possible. Conquest House is the Group’s head office and the building was built in the 1970s. Improvements to Conquest House for the benefit of our colleagues and the environment are ongoing for example we have plans to replace lighting systems with less power hungry light sources and to improve cooling and heating system performance. We encourage our colleagues to use public transport as much as possible and operate cycle to work and car share schemes. Charging points for electric vehicles are installed at our Bexhill site and are free to use for colleagues. The Group’s Gibraltar based underwriting business recently relocated to a new rented office block; our sites in London and Leicester are also rented; all three of these sites have good environmental credentials.
Our environmental commitments also extend to our colleagues where we provide a safe, healthy working environment. We strive to ensure that all colleagues are able to work, rest and play in an environment that promotes safety and good health. Our sites provide areas where colleagues can leave their work stations, de-stress and relax, be that a clean restaurant stocked with healthy food, quiet rooms and outside space to read and chill, or games rooms. The Group does not currently operate a green procurement programme but encourages all of its suppliers to be environmentally responsible.