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Laura, Arena's HR Manager, reviews a busy year of community activity

Laura, Arena's HR Manager, reviews a busy year of community activity

To celebrate Arena Group’s 25th year in business, employees pledged to raise £25,000 for local charities between November 2016 and September 2017. The challenge was set at our Annual Profit Share Meeting in November where our employees overwhelmingly chose to support three hospices; Wakefield Hospice, Rotherham Hospice and East Lancashire Hospice. £25,000 can help to pay for 1000 hours of nursing care, 6 bereavement support sessions for 120 people or 4167 patient meals. All of these hospices are local to the Arena office locations and all rely heavily on donations to continue their amazing work in our communities.

On Sunday 25th June, 16 brave employees jumped out of a plane at Skydive Hibaldstow at an altitude of 15,000 ft. With representative jumpers from 8 out of 11 of our respective departments, not least our MD Adrian Fitzpatrick, this event constituted a fantastic whole Arena team effort. Not only this but the team raised a huge £11,436 from this alone, 46% of our target!

The theme of bravery continued with 7 of our sales team and 2 of our customers completing the hair-raising Tough Mudder challenge which involves a 10 mile run, muddy athletic tasks and even electrocution. The team raised over £750 in the process. Perhaps more sedately, we also held a family fun day on a Saturday afternoon with a BBQ, face painting, craft stall and a bouncy castle which raised £357.

Most surprisingly, we have also discovered resident ‘wheeler dealers’ amongst our staff who have been able to blag a number of fantastic prizes which have been raffled off, again bringing us closer to our target. From Fortnum and Mason hampers, a £200 voucher for Crafthouse in Leeds, Mercedes Benz goodie bag, tickets for the races, to a Valentines Hamper and overnight stay at the Park Plaza.

Our employees have also foregone some of their regular perks, including their regular bottle of champagne at Christmas, the cost of an employee trophy and a team meal out. Two employees even opted to have their heads shaved and another to be waxed for the cause! We’ve also had plenty of support from families and friends who have donated, baked and joined in the activities to support the great work of the hospices.

Some healthy competition was injected into fundraising part-way through the year when the remainder of the total was split between departments, with the team raising the highest percentage against their target, each receiving a coveted extra annual leave day in 2018.

All in all, raising the money has been a lot of fun and we are well on our way to hitting the £25,000 target by the end of September 2017 with just £2,970.61 to go and plenty planned to get us across the line. We hope to not only win this award but also to be able to tell you that we’ve smashed our target later this year.

On behalf of the Bradford-based charity ‘One in a Million’, our MD, Adrian, also took part in a two-day bike tour, covering almost 200 miles on the 14th and the 15th May 2016, organised by Packetts Insurance Brokers. They began at Packett’s head office in Saltaire, cycling through to Masham, before finishing in Bradford City. OIAM is a charity now in its eleventh year, supporting disadvantaged children and adolescents through activity and opportunity such as sports and arts. Adrian said “I am taking part in the tour because I have children of my own who are fortunate enough to benefit from a good education and I have hopes to raise enough to make a real difference in some young people’s lives”. Adrian raised a total of £2,715, enough to support three children for one year.

Aside from this year’s fundraising, Arena Group consistently give back to the community through our CSR programme. This allows every employee to take up to 2 paid days per year to engage in CSR activities from volunteering to community projects and beyond. This is a programme that we have run for 9 years, with countless days dedicated to improving the lives of others.

Some of the projects which we have been involved with this year include the ‘Trinity Kitchen’ event at Roundhay School. Volunteers from Arena helped Year 10 students design an innovative food idea, plan the marketing and costings and then present their ideas – a great opportunity for us to help them develop business and marketing skills. We also visited Ashton Sixth Form College to help students prepare for the ‘world of work’ by conducting mock interviews and supported Carleton Community High School in July 2017 for their ‘Inventors Day’ where we helped students innovate and create, develop entrepreneurial thinking.

We have also cleared allotments in Denby Dale and helped to build an adventure play ground in conjunction with Manchester Young Lives, moving and spreading bark. These projects have run alongside our usual attendance at the Holbeck Elderly Aid Christmas Party where employees prepare and serve food to residents and even join in with the games and dancing. Another project which we have worked on significantly over the years is Herd Farm, a 50-bed residential and outdoor activity centre for children and adults.

Arena also continues its support for the Jane Tomlinson Run for All’s ‘Mini and Junior Fun Run’. For the last 7 years, we have paid the entrance costs for any child aged between 3 and 15 who wishes to take part, ensuring that young people can participate for free in fun and healthy activities. This also allows them to raise money towards causes which are close to their hearts. We recently visited Barwick in Elmet primary school to congratulate their runners who raised over £2,000 for their school library, taking along Arena Owl our business’ mascot! In fact, you may have seen us in the Yorkshire Post recently, telling Yorkshire all about it.

Arena Owl also joined in the Fun Run at the new Southgate School for children with complex needs in Almondbury, alongside Sales Account Manager, Kelsey Wilkinson, who was heavily involved. The Fun Run allowed the school to raise money for exciting additional resources such as a collection of bicycles, a bike track and sensory equipment. The sponsorship was match-funded by our board of directors at Arena Group and got them to their £2,000 target.

All in all, we have had a great year of fundraising and contributing to our local communities which our employees find rewarding and worthwhile. To ensure the journey continues, we have recently given ongoing responsibility for CSR activities to a task-force of high-performing employees who plan to continue the programme, ensure its development and seek out opportunities to do even more. In their capable hands, we therefore fully expect an action-packed 2018! 

Find out more about Arena's 25th fundraising challenge and our wider work in the community including picture galleries.

 

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The Arena Group comprises: Arena Group Holdings Limited, a company registered in England and Wales (with registered company number 03735943 and VAT number 734562528) and its subsidiary company: Arena Group Limited a company registered in England and Wales (with registered company number 02168309 and VAT number 458238033). The Registered office of all Arena Group companies is Armitage House, Thorpe Lower Lane, Robin Hood, Wakefield, WF3 3BQ. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for credit-related regulated activities.