Businesses have gathered in Leeds to celebrate the social impact being made across the region through local commerce.
Twelve businesses were shortlisted in the West and North Yorkshire Chamber’s Raising the Bar awards which recognised exceptional commitment to those “giving back” through fundraising, volunteering and supporting across the categories of economy, environment, education and community.
Amongst the winners were BASF which took the Education award in the large business category, Leeds-based B&M Waste receiving the Community award in the medium business category and York-based Novalux LED taking the Environment award in the small business category.
The event at Leeds Civic Hall was opened by Leader of Leeds City Council, Judith Blake, hosted by BBC Radio Leeds presenter Andrew Edwards and included a keynote speech from Richard Mason, senior manager for the responsibility programme at Burberry who talked about about the company’s initiative to “change the way young people see the world”.
Joanne Love from BASF, who were recognised for their involvement in education and their “kids’ lab” said: “We were delighted to win a Raising the Bar award for our Kids’ Lab in the Education category.
“The award acknowledges the efforts of everyone involved and celebrates the amazing work our 70 volunteers do showcasing science in action. Congratulations go to the whole team.”
The Chamber’s Raising the Bar awards was sponsored by Provident Financial, the Business Enterprise Fund and Hungate York Regeneration Ltd – the developers behind the Hungate development in York.
Leeds City Council also supported the awards which form part of a wider Chamber initiative to encourage and support local firms who want to do more to support their local community, their employees and the environment.
West and North Yorkshire Chamber chief executive Sandy Needham said: “We’d like to extend huge congratulations to all award winners and for all those who entered – everyone deserves real recognition for their outstanding contributions to the local community and for actively going above and beyond to make a difference.
“Part of this year’s Raising the Bar initiative has been the introduction of a free benchmarking tool which helps businesses to measure the social impact they are currently having and identify where to improve – it has proven invaluable to everyone entering the awards.
“Raising the Bar itself is a year-round programme which aims to inspire, advise, support and guide businesses on how and where to funnel their efforts in supporting their wider communities.”
She added: “The Raising the Bar free benchmarking tool is live and accessible 365 days a year and we’d encourage firms to start looking at it now with a view to planning their 2019 social impact strategy.”
To access the Raising the Bar free benchmarking tool which can be used throughout the year, click on ‘my social impact’ on the Raising the Bar website http://www.raising-the-bar.org.uk/social-impact/.