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Prostate Cancer UK share their views on the benefits of corporate partnerships.
More than ten thousand men die of prostate cancer each year in the UK. That’s one man dying every hour of every day. And there are over a quarter of a million men living with the disease in the UK today. It’s as big an issue for men as breast cancer is for women.
The good news is that prostate cancer can often be successfully treated, if it’s diagnosed early. But there’s less good news too. The number of men identified with prostate cancer is growing fast. It’s predicted to become the most common of all cancers in the UK over the next decade or so. And while people are gradually starting to become more aware of it, too many still know dangerously little about it.
That’s why when Deloitte employees chose Prostate Cancer UK as one of its charity partners in 2013, we asked them for their support on our awareness programme - an ambitious project aiming to reach 300,000 of the most at-risk men over three years to tell them about their risk, the signs of prostate problems and what they can do if they have concerns.
At Teach First, we are delighted to see the return of Deloitte’s annual Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions Schools Challenge this year reaching sixth form students from across Deloitte Access partner schools as well as a wider network of schools. The event directly supports our vision to give every child access to a brilliant education and our commitment to tackling the shortage of specialist Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) teachers in the UK.
In recent years, this shortage has meant that schools in low-income communities have been hit especially hard. Less than a third of students eligible for free school meals achieve a science GCSE at grade A*-C, compared with 70% of their wealthier peers.
Growing up in Belfast during the 1970s and 1980s, I was the first person in my family to pass the 11+, to go to grammar school and then onto university. I am now a Partner at Deloitte, one of the biggest management consultancies in the UK. I work hard and enjoy what I do and never really thought that my story was in any way unusual. Having three children of my own now and seeing how hard they have to work and the competition that exists for jobs, I imagine that my story would be less common today.
We know from research that socio-economics is a major determinant of educational outcomes. Another impact of this is that many young people find themselves in challenging schools without the support they need to make the best choices or compete for the best jobs. And this is often exacerbated by employers who want to recruit in the most cost-effective way possible – which often means going to just a select few universities where they can take their pick from a very talented and high performing student population. But increasingly this is not a diverse one.
Ask most businesses these days if they have a CSR policy and they’ll almost always say ‘yes’. Which is fine, I guess.
There’s an acknowledgement that business does have a responsibility to contribute to broader society, whether through charitable donations, allowing staff days off to undertake volunteer work, or whatever. Again, all fine.
Categorising corporate social responsibility as some kind of policy – a box to be ticked – for me undersells the importance of organisations with resource, talent, expertise, contacts, networks and funding being able to genuinely do some good.
One strand of Deloitte’s approach to this is the Social Innovation Pioneers programme. This invites applications from social enterprises, i.e. businesses which have social good as the key metric on their balance sheets, for a year’s worth of mentoring and business support from some of Deloitte’s senior people. The idea is that we can help them take a great idea and turn it into a great business, so they can amplify their intended benefit to society.
In recent years there has been a distinct move towards strategic corporate charity partnerships. Although there has been some debate as to exactly what this term means, it is essentially a partnership which engages both parties in more than simply employee fundraising. Strategic partnerships are about engaging different areas of both organisations to reach shared objectives.
The traditional view of corporate charity partnerships has long gone, and although we are of course grateful to those who fill our buckets and collection tins with much-needed funds, we are equally delighted to be diversifying our ways of working.
The Deloitte and Alzheimer’s Society partnership, as well as Deloitte’s relationships with MIND and Prostate Cancer UK, are embodiments of this new way of working. As the Account Manager from Alzheimer’s Society, I am delighted to be part of what is shaping up to be a true strategic partnership.
Our vision at Tong High School is to be the heartbeat of a powerful network in which everyone involved thrives on the challenge to improve and get better every day. Quality, organic, influential networks and partnerships can be the route to the success of schools and students.
At Tong we have been building our powerful network for the past few years. Our local, national and international partnerships are mutually beneficial and positively influence the achievement of all students, staff and our wider community.
There have been many benefits for children and young people arisen through our networks, but the poignant moment for me is when a child realises their aspirations and has the confidence to know that it can become a reality.
As a school we play a vital role in building and creating a powerful network. Not all children and young people are fortunate enough to come from families who have personal networks which allow doors to open.
Recent positive news about the UK economy has been incredibly welcome. Britain is back growing and working. And the positive news on our education system, announced in last month’s school leagues tables, proves that Britain is learning too. More schools are meeting government targets and our country’s talented and dedicated teachers are creating a brighter future for many young people. But we are failing the next generation until all young people have the opportunity to secure a successful future for themselves and our country. The business community can change all this.
Last month after 35 years in industry I was delighted to become Chair of the charity Teach First. And I’ve joined at an exciting time, with the fortunes of six Teach First teachers being the subject of the acclaimed BBC Three documentary Tough Young Teachers.
Not long after Brett Wigdortz established Teach First, Deloitte engaged in doing what we do best. We used our skills and capabilities to support the organisation’s growth and established a relationship that is now over 10 years old and which in my view sets the standard for the many charity partners we have established since.
In the early days we provided accountancy support to help get the charity up and running and one of our audit partners, Sarah Shillingford, remains a Trustee today. Our initial relationship was through graduate recruitment and we worked with Teach First to interview potential graduates who would teach for two years and then join Deloitte’s graduate programme. Over time the relationship has grown and evolved.
When I joined Deloitte in 2010 as an Analyst in the Strategy Consulting team, it was fairly early days for corporate social innovation. Corporate Responsibility (CR) was still very much focused on fundraising and charity days at Deloitte. Three years later social innovation is a key part of Deloitte’s CR programme and even, dare I say, its firm-wide strategy. CEO David Sproul is a vocal supporter of social enterprise and often recounts stories of Deloitte’s projects and involvement in the sector.
What I found most exciting at Deloitte is the number of people who believe in the potential of corporate social innovation and spend their own time developing initiatives and raising awareness. For these committed individuals across the firm, social innovation is a highly valued way to support scalable social businesses.
For me, some good has come from having depression. I'm more compassionate, more motivated and I know more about how my brain works. I try to understand other people better: that colleague who seems blunt probably doesn’t dislike me but is just having a bad day. But in spite of these benefits, having depression wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.
Awareness of mental illness is rising, with the realisation that depression isn’t the emotion of sadness and an anxiety disorder isn’t the same as feeling anxious. For me, depression feels like the day before you get a horrible cold: you’re not sneezing and don't look ill yet; but you feel like you can't think and that all your five senses are smothered in cotton wool. Turning the wrong way out of the lift or spelling your own name wrong feels like the worst thing you’ve ever done. Depression can cause you to feel very sad, hopeless or guilty, to have no interest in anything and to find it difficult to make decisions.