Introduction to Heart of the City’

Heart of the City is a charity working with companies across London to encourage them to do business responsibly, to have a genuine positive impact on their community, workforce and environment. The London’s Giving team is working with Heart of the City promote the work of giving campaigns to their business members, and make connections to interested companies. Chief Executive Sarah Mitchell introduces the charity and their offer to local businesses:

Whether you call it corporate social responsibility or profit with a purpose, the fact is that more and more businesses now see the importance of making a positive impact on wider society. 

And it’s not just the preserve of large businesses – small and medium sized businesses are also keen to get involved. 

Which is where Heart of the City comes in.  Because although London’s 800,000+ SMEs make up 99% of London’s businesses there isn’t much practical support to help them do more responsible business. For time-pressed small-to-mid sized businesses, knowing where to start and how to get a community involvement programme up and running on limited resources can be a real challenge.

Heart of the City is supported by the City of London Corporation and City Bridge Trust, and we help London’s businesses kick-start their responsible business activities.  We do this primarily through our free Newcomers Programme.  This one-year programme is supported by expert practitioners and includes a series of workshops, fantastic networking, an expert mentor and a wealth of online resources.

We’re proud of what the programme achieves. When Formation Architects joined Heart of the City this year they wanted to do more to use their team’s skills to improve their local neighbourhood. With our support they have linked with community groups to transform local green spaces in Lambeth and in the process have been inspired to do even more!

Last year more than half of our Newcomers started employee volunteering for the first time – engaging employees in an estimated 1,340 hours of volunteering.  With our support Islington’s Dalziel and Pow Ltd developed a programme of opportunities to encourage students aspiring to enter the creative design industry.

84% of these small companies reported making charitable donations, adding up to more than £500,000. Heart of the City also helps businesses take practical environmental steps and 74% of last year’s Newcomers developed waste reduction and recycling initiatives.

To date over 700 London businesses have taken part in the Newcomers programme so we have a strong track record.

We offer Heart of the City’s free Newcomers programme to businesses from any London borough thanks to City Bridge Trust support, although the places are limited.

We have 60 places available on our Newcomers programme for 2018 and we would love to see businesses from all across London represented on that programme.  If you know a business in your borough with more than 10 employees that you think could benefit then please point them in our direction.  The closing date for applications for our 2018 programme is 30 November 2017 but applications are being accepted from 1st September on a first-come-first-served basis, so the sooner we hear the better! Business can find out more, and sign up here.

We know from experience that by equipping businesses to set up their programmes well from the start, they are able to go on to have a sustained and thoughtful impact in their local communities.   We are very interested in the development of London’s Giving and keen to link in with the different initiatives being set up around the capital - and hope that by working together we can unlock the great potential of many businesses in local areas around London.