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By Wesleyan

Giving back in 2023: How we supported our communities

wesleyan foundation
4 min
Group of Wesleyan employees standing outside Wesleyan building

What a phenomenal year it’s been for supporting our communities within Wesleyan.

Wesleyan is committed to giving back to the communities it serves, and strives to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development goals of Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, and Climate Action.

We support these goals through the Wesleyan Foundation which, since 2017 has given out more than £5.9 million to more than 800 charities and organisations that contribute to our communities.

As part of our grants programme, staff at Wesleyan fundraise and volunteer for the causes they care about. Employees have two volunteering days each year, which can be used for anything that benefits the community. Wesleyan also has a match funding policy which can support up to £500 per fundraiser.

Fundraising and volunteering

In 2023, we donned our hi vis jackets and grabbed our litter pickers to help rid our local environment of rubbish, as part of the ‘Wesleyan Big Clean’ litter picking campaign for World Environment Day to #beatplasticpollution. Across the group, more than 130 staff picked up one tonne of rubbish, while covering more than 200 miles in the process.

In September, 130 participants took part in the Wesleyan Sports Tour, to raise funds for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation. The participants raised £24,000 by walking an 18 mile-long course which took in five sports stadiums across Birmingham, all done in blistering heat!

Colleagues have also used volunteering leave to take on roles such as governors for schools and trustees for charities. We also organised a specialist team to support a charity with their strategy delivery, and we’ve taken part in a social enterprise programme for young people who have low self-confidence or low incomes.

We have given regular donations to food and clothes banks, as well as bake sales throughout the year to raise money for people affected by natural disasters such as the earthquakes in Turkey. We also took part in a 24-hour bikeathon which raised £2,000 to support those affected by floods in India. To top off the volunteering calendar we wrapped and delivered 1,300 gifts to local schools and charities.

A Grant for Every Goal with Wesleyan Foundation

2023 was the year we launched new grants to better align with our goals.  This included:

Our Climate Action Grant: We donated £74,000 to three projects working towards climate action and enhancing our environment:

  • Borders Forest Trust will use its funding to restore a Montane Scrub Woodland and aims to plant 50,000 trees and other plants.
  • Lichfield Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust aims to complete canal restoration at Darnford Moors, which will also help with flood prevention and capturing carbon.
  • Small Woods Association’s Social Woodland project will create Biochar (which can be blended with other soil amendments to address a range of environmental, agricultural and forestry challenges), as well as supporting individuals back into employment.

Our Wellbeing Grant (for doctors, dentists, and teachers) donated £90,000 to three charities. Doctors in Distress has delivered wellbeing programmes for both doctors and dentists, including creative writing therapy programmes, and specialist support for international medical graduates.

Education support is providing a BAME Wellbeing Action programme for teachers. The British Dietetic Association (BDA) Benevolent Fund received a donation to support dentists and dental students who are struggling with their mental health and financial wellbeing.

Our Quality Education grant is helping the future of the dental and medical professions. Wesleyan has funded Aston University’s Pathway to Medicine and Pathway to Healthcare programmes to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds gain the skills needed to pursue a career in medicine. While its £65,000 scholarship is supporting 15 dental students from disadvantaged communities during their first three years of study at the University of Birmingham.

Our new Equality Grant awarded £70,000 to eight charities delivering a diverse programme of interventions and support to reduce inequalities, including supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and pregnant migrant mothers.

Moreover, via our established Community Grants programme in 2023, the Wesleyan Foundation supported 40 small grassroots organisations across the UK to provide vital services for a huge variety of community-based projects.

Visit Wesleyan Foundation if you’d like to know more about our work.

Using lived experience to connect with communities

This year Wesleyan Foundation has gone a step further to ensure the community work we do is productive and supporting people in the right way by introducing a new Lived Experience Advisory Panel.

We worked alongside charity service users to design our grants and inform our decision making, with consultations taking place with adults with learning disabilities, women who’ve experienced domestic abuse, and young people living in areas with high levels of deprivation. This work has impacted Wesleyan Foundation’s grants and volunteering programmes.

Celebrating an Award-Winning Year

The Wesleyan Community & Citizenship work received recognition in November 2023 at the annual Dental Industry Awards in London, where Wesleyan won the award for Corporate Social Responsibility, for companies with greater than 25 employees. This was a real endorsement of the culture developing within to connect with our communities and make a difference.

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