Businesses Helping Their Communities in the UK

Over the past few years, companies of all sizes have incorporated social responsibility practices into their business strategy. For business owners, giving back to the community is a great way of showing their commitment to helping create a better society and of improving their organisation's reputation. Charity work and sponsorship are two of the most common ways in which corporate social responsibility is put into practice. According to a survey carried out by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, UK businesses and individuals donate more than £13 billion to charity every year. But how exactly are UK businesses helping their local communities and which companies are specifically known for their charitable work?

Marks & Spencer

British retailer Marks & Spencer has a long story of devising initiatives that support fairer and more ethical social and environmental policies. This company is known for its commitment to the local community, which is evident in the large amount of charity work that Marks & Spencer supports. Some of the company's past campaigns have included raising money for housing NGO Shelter and for the Forever Fish campaign, through which M&S has invested £1 million in conservation projects run by WWF and the Marine Conservation Society. In collaboration with Oxfam, M&S has launched the Shwopping campaign, which encourages individuals to donate unwanted clothes. So far, this campaign has raised donations worth £4.5 million. M&S has been donating equipment, clothing, and food items to charities like Shelter, The New Life Foundation, and FareShare. This retailer has also raised millions of pounds to support the work of its partner charities, which include the Prostate Cancer Charity, UNICEF, the Woodland Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Royal British Legion, and Butterfly Conservation.

J.P. Morgan

This banking corporation carries out charity work through the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, which focuses on helping communities in three main areas: workforce readiness, economic development, and financial empowerment. In the UK, J.P. Morgan collaborates with the Glasgow Youth Employability Group, WorkingRite, Participle, Barnardo's, the Social Mobility Foundation, and the Timewise Foundation. This financial institution also sponsors major sporting events, like the English Rugby 7s and the US Open. J.P. Morgan is also known for its annual Corporate Challenge, which first took place in New York in 1977 and has since been raising funds for charities all over the world. Nowadays, this sports challenge is held in 13 cities and has become one of the world's largest foot races. The funds raised at this event go to support not-for-profit organisations, such as Water Aid, Operation Smile, the YMCA, and the Make A Difference Foundation.


This UK retailer has followed in the footsteps of its parent company Wal-Mart, whose charitable giving reached $958 million in 2011. In the United Kingdom, Asda supports the local community through the Asda Foundation, which was founded in 1988 and has provided financial assistance to charities, sports teams, and playgroups all over the country. Asda is one of the major supporters of the Breast Cancer Campaign, and so far the company has raised over £38 million thanks to its Tickled Pink initiative. A further £2 million have been donated to the Tissue Bank, one of the UK's leading organisations in breast cancer research. In addition, Asda has raised more than £10 million for the BBC's Children in Need appeal. Asda also has partnerships with Orchid (a male-specific cancer charity) and Tommy's, a not-for-profit organisation that funds research on stillbirths and premature births.


This UK-based pharmacy chain supports the local community through its partnerships with charitable organisations, volunteer work, and fundraising efforts. Like Asda, Boots is one of the biggest supporters of the BBC's Children in Need campaign, and over the past ten years Boots has raised more than £6 million for this cause. Boots organises an annual fundraising evening to support this initiative, and in 2012 the company's call centre broke all records by taking over £200,000 in donations. The Boots Charitable Trust supports local Nottinghamshire charities and community projects such as Home Start, the Bulwell Toy Library, and the Jericho Road Project. Boots also works in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and is an active participant in the annual Macmillan Big Walk.

Allianz Global Assistance

Allianz Global Assistance's social responsibility programme encompasses three main areas: education, health and well-being, and environmental work. This insurance company encourages staff to take paid days off and devote them to supporting community projects and charity work. Some of the organisations with which Allianz is involved include Age UK and the Croydon Commitment. Allianz is a well-known supporter of nationwide charitable campaigns like Comic Relief and Children in Need. Moreover, Allianz organises campaigns like One More Gift (where presents and donations are given to a local special needs school), and the Dress Down for a Pound Day, which supports the work of children's charity Help for Kids.

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