BIG Alliance – business volunteer programme

ELBA outline their work with businesses and Islington Giving.

In June 2012, Islington Giving asked the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) to help set up a new business-supported employee volunteer programme to strengthen links between businesses and community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations across Islington. The result was The BIG Alliance. 

ELBA's expert understanding of corporate community investment and its tried and tested community programmes, married with Islington Giving’s knowledge of Islington, has made it possible to quickly establish a robust infrastructure for business involvement, enabling corporate companies to direct their community investment to where it’s most needed.

Since its inception in June 2012, the BIG Alliance has made real in-roads in establishing an infrastructure for CSR in Islington: the first of its kind in the borough.  The creation of The BIG Alliance builds on the existing successful partnership between Macquarie Group Foundation and Islington Giving - the principle funder and founder of the initial BIG Alliance pilot - an alliance of charitable trusts which, between them, have over a thousand years’ experience of addressing poverty and inequality in the borough. 

The BIG Alliance programme offers three key programmes of work businesses can engage with – with each programme featuring a variety of different schemes and projects:

Community
The community, voluntary and not-for-profit sectors play a key role in tackling poverty and disadvantage in Islington, often finding ways to help people who slip through the net or who are unable to access statutory services.
The BIG Alliance focuses on transferring business skills through a sustainable employee volunteering programme, to support the community, voluntary and not-for-profit sectors.

Employment
Despite Islington’s prevalent image as a wealthy and successful borough, many residents struggle to find employment. The borough has the second highest rate of child poverty in London, with 13,000 children living in families where nobody works. This is despite the fact that there are 1.5 jobs available to every resident in the borough.

The BIG Alliance employment and skills projects aim to redress this and increase the number of residents recruited by its member companies and local businesses.

Education
The BIG Alliance's education programmes connect businesses with schools, colleges and universities to help students raise aspirations, improve employability skills and increase confidence. We also support social mobility by providing greater access to tangible employment destinations and better student/teacher awareness of career options.

Through these programmes, we have been able to:

  • Broker over 571 business volunteers into the Islington community
  • Give 8,000 hours of our businesses time, worth over £297,000
  • Support more than 95 community organisations
  • Help 128 unemployed Islington residents into sustainable employment
  • Mentor 285 students from Islington schools

None of this would be possible without the support of our member businesses:  Macquarie, Expedia, City University London, Dalziel and Pow, City of London, Standard Chartered, Partners for Improvement, Euromonitor International, Linklaters, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, British Library, JX Nippon Exploration and Production UK Limited, Slaughter and May, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and the London Borough of Islington.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the BIG Alliance, please contact Davinder Chaggar on davinder.chaggar@elba-1.org.uk or 07703 193 205.