Revealed: Responsible businesses help 800,000 people, creating thousands of jobs and investing over £11 million in the UK’s communities

Nearly 800,000 people have benefitted because of the efforts and contribution of some of the country’s most charitable businesses. The firms were honoured at last night's Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, one of the UK’s oldest and most distinguished responsible business gongs, hosted by Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London.

The annual awards, run by the City of London Corporation and hosted at The Mansion House, revealed that this year’s applicants supported nearly 800,000 people, created over 13,000 jobs and invested over £11 million in their communities and local enterprises.

The firms mobilised 7,467 business volunteers who gave over 420,000 hours benefitting communities, charities and local enterprises.

The Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, now celebrating its 30th year*, recognises responsible businesses of all sizes and sectors which go above and beyond their normal work to address social issues across London and the UK.

This year has seen a huge variety of winners, from SME’s to multinationals, from sports clubs to legal firms and from financial services organisations to recruitment agencies. Firms supporting communities across the UK have been recognised by the new Regional Impact award.


The 2017 winners:


  • Lord Mayor’s Award - Arsenal FC for Arsenal in the Community, which has been chosen for its programme across Islington, Camden and Hackney in London, where coaches work with over 5,000 people across 150 venues each week. Through a range of footballing, educational, employment, health and social inclusion activities, the initiative offers support and a sense of belonging and connection to those that need it most.


  • Innovation Award – SME Keytree for Plan Zheroes for designing a digital platform which provides an easy way for companies to donate their surplus food to charities instead of sending it to landfill. The platform has now reached over 700 charities, primarily London based, with around two tonnes of food per month- the equivalent of 4,000 meals, being distributed to people in need. Keytree for Plan Zheroes is working with major food service and restaurant chains such as Compass Group UK & Ireland and Nandos.


  • Community Partnership Award - Bromley by Bow Centre for its partnership with Investec.The Bromley by Bow Centre works with Investec to empower people living in some of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities to create sustainable, profit making businesses – creating jobs, supporting the community and benefitting the environment. As a result of the partnership, 250 jobs have been created in East London from 44 social enterprises with a combined turnover of £2.3 million, with more than half BME or woman led.


  • Regional Impact Award - PwC for PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club is a network of over 250 social entrepreneurs across the UK. Operating across 10 UK cities, the network has supported 446 social enterprises since 2011. PwC uses the skills of its people and its wider resources to provide a wide programme of support for network members including mentoring, coaching, masterclasses, online learning and networking. In turn, these strengthened social enterprises can increase their positive impact in communities across the country.


  • Inclusive Employment Award - Mayer Brown for its Refugee Employment Academy is a partnership project with refugee charity Breaking Barriers. The initiative offers paid work placements, employability skills workshops, language classes, a mentoring programme and support and advice for refugees looking for work. The initiative breaks down barriers and increases understanding of the skills and experience that refugees have to offer to the UK economy.


  • Accelerator Award - UBS for its Community Affairs programme in Hackney and East London which has been addressing economic and social disadvantage in Hackney for 30 years. Over the past three years UBS has helped social entrepreneurs to set up new social enterprises and grow existing ones to support the most disadvantaged people in the borough. The programme includes funding of the Hackney Connect Award with UnLtd to develop the skills, confidence and opportunities for unemployed young people.


  • Heart of the City Award – SME Impact Creative Recruitment for Future Proofing Talent Through Diversity. The Initiative works to diversity the creative and media industries such as the media, fashion, TV and advertising, by connecting industry opportunities with a pool of untapped talent in Hackney. Impact Creative’s own workforce is now 10% more diverse and they have increased the diversity of the candidates they place with clients by 12%.


Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London, who presented the awards said:“Being a responsible business - be it economically, environmentally or socially - is becoming increasingly popular amongst competitive firms.“It is more important than ever that businesses take responsibility and step up to contribute to building a fairer and more prosperous society.“I applaud all the valuable and innovative work taking place across the country which is truly making a difference to our communities, as well as benefitting those employees involved.“We want to encourage more businesses to follow the example set by our winners, and see what they achieve by going that extra mile to benefit society.”

The Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards is among the most established and distinguished responsible business awards in the UK. Since it was founded in 1987, the Awards have attracted high quality applications from a variety of organisations across London and the UK. From SMEs to big City firms, these firms have been setting the bar for excellence in business engagement in communities.

The Awards form one part of the City of London Corporation’s commitment to working in partnership with business, charities and neighbouring boroughs to create a more responsible, inclusive and competitive London.

As part of this drive, the City Corporation funds Heart of the City, a charity supporting London’s companies to run their own responsible business programmes. The City Corporation also sponsors the City of London Business Traineeship Programme, which places state school pupils into paid internships at top City firms, giving young people the skills needed for a successful career in the Square Mile.The City Corporation boosts young people’s employability through partnerships with City firms through apprenticeships, mentoring and paid work placements schemes. It is also the sponsor of the world’s first Social Mobility Employer Index, a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and the Social Mobility Commission, which ranks the top 50 UK employers who have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace. The City Corporation itself has pledged to employ 100 apprentices by the end of 2017/18.

Its charitable arm, the City Bridge Trust, gives £20m every year to charitable and community organisations across London.


To find out more about the Awards, follow us via @Dragon_Awards and #DragonAwards or email to be added to the mailing list.

* This year, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Awards, two new categories were launched - one of which shines a light on the impact that businesses are having right across the UK and another which recognises and encourages businesses to address sometimes overlooked issues, and equally, to find new ways of tackling old problems.

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