As we put it on our website, Smarter Surfaces’ Corporate Social Responsibility Programme (CSR) is about helping charities which aim to make a real difference for the better with a particular emphasis on “encouraging a positive change in the workplace environment.”
Both charities – one in the UK, the other in Ireland – aim to give a practical, hand-up-rather-than-hand-out to kids who for different reasons start out in life with significantly fewer opportunities than others.
CSR Beneficiary: Envision
Envision, which has branches in Bristol, Birmingham and London focuses on teenagers who have grown up in inner city environments where finding paths into well-paid employment can be challenging.
The charity runs what is called a “Community Apprenticeship” scheme, along this lines of TV’s The Apprentice, with crucial differences. Instead of a ruthlessly competitive scenario, participants are drawn from three different schools in each city, participate in projects to promote their own communities. The focus of this is on making a difference to their communities, rather than a profit.
In this version of the Sir Alan Sugar-chaired show, it is a team which wins, not an individual, and the Sugar-type role is taken not by a leading business person but by a major figure from each city’s communal life. In Bristol’s case, for example, it is the Lord Mayor of the ancient port city.
An essential part of Envision’s work is the placing of volunteer coaches from local businesses with schools, so pupils get direct experience of real workplace problems. This has very real, measurable advantages. In a report for the Education and Employment Task-force, its’ Research and Policy Director, Dr. Anthony Mann, noted that “young adults who have greater levels of contact with employers while at school are less likely to be NEET (Not In Employment, Education or Training) and could expect, when in full-time employment to earn up to 18% more than their peers who had had no work experience.”
CSR Beneficiary: WALK
Meanwhile, in Ireland, WALK is creating employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities in Walkinstown. WALK’s three-stage Employment, Training and Community Living programme aims to help its’ participant clients to create – “a rich and full life, with home at the core,” for themselves and with their families in support.
WALK helps its clients by supporting them to access both educational and employment opportunities so they can fully develop their potential to the level they feel is right for them.
How these charities have used Smarter Surfaces’ Smart Wall Paint
Both Envision and WALK use Smarter Surfaces’ Smart Wall Paint, and both, separately, report that it has replaced the need for expensive flip-charts with a renewable resource which physically brightens up their spaces.
“Smart Wall Paint has got people thinking differently…the staff have got the freedom and creativity to go bigger, both in space and thinking. Being able to wipe down and not have to worry has made a massive change,” commented Envision’s Damian Chapman.
At WALK, Neil Lacey reports that they use Smart Wall Paint in their restaurant The Green Kitchen, a social enterprise where over a three-year course clients are prepared for careers in hospitality and catering.
“It’s clean, bright and efficient – very easy to use and extremely easy to clean, – it cuts down massively on waste. It’s so easy to use.”
To read some of our customer case studies click here.