As we enter the Season of Giving, there is no better time to reflect on what has been a phenomenal year for supporting our Communities within Wesleyan Group and Practice Plan.
Wesleyan is committed to giving back to the communities it serves and strives to achieve in United Nations 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 £5.8 million to more than 600 charities and organisations that contribute to our communities.
As well as giving out grants to organisations, Wesleyan Group staff (which includes Practice Plan) strive to fundraise and volunteer for the causes they care about. With employees having two volunteering days each year. Volunteering hours can be used for anything that benefits the community.
Fundraising and volunteering
Earlier this year, 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 1 tonne of rubbish, while covering more than 200 miles in the process.
In September, colleagues from Oswestry travelled to Birmingham to join other staff taking part in the Wesleyan Sports Tour, to raise funds for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation. The 130 participants raised £24,000 by walking an 18 miles-long course which took in five sports stadiums, all done in blistering heat!
Other volunteering days have seen our Regional Support Managers bundling up food bags for a charity that supports people with learning disabilities, colleagues offering support at coffee mornings in aid of an animal charity and of one our graphic designers taking part in Movember. There are also regular donations to food banks as well as bake sales throughout the year to raise money for people affected by natural disasters such as the earthquakes in Turkey as well as a 24-hour bikeathon which raised £2,000 to support those affected by floods in India. To top off the volunteering calendar we wrapped up and delivered 1300 gifts to local schools and charities.
A Grant for Every Goal with the Wesleyan Foundation
This year we launched new grants to make sure we are achieving in all our goals. This included:
Our Climate Action Grant which donated £74,000 to three projects striving towards climate action and enhancing our environment:
- The Borders Forest Trust will use its funding to restore a Montagne scrub woodland and aims to plant 50,000 trees and other plants.
- Lichfield Hatherton Restoration Trust aims to complete canal restoration at Darnfood Moors, which will also help with flood prevention and capturing carbon.
- Small Woods Association’s Social Woodland project will create Biochar as well as support 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 BME Wellbeing Action programme for teachers and the 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.
On top of all this, via our established Community Grants programme in 2023 Wesleyan Foundation has supported 40 small grassroots organisations across the UK to provide vital services for a huge variety of community-based projects.
If you’d like to know more about the work of the Wesleyan Foundation, you can read about it here
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.
The Wesleyan Foundation’s 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 Wesleyan and Practice Plan to connect with our communities and make a difference.