Another positive year for corporate social responsibility, especially when we reflect on the extra operational demands and pressure on available resources within the organisation this year - a year when we were fortunate to be able to step up our role in providing opportunities for affordable home ownership in Northern Ireland. Co-Ownership Housing is an organisation with a social purpose as its cornerstone, and so achieving operational priorities is in itself a key element of our social responsibility strategy.
Our staff must be commended for their enthusiasm and commitment in moving our CSR projects forward during the last 12 months. A job well done indeed, to accomplish such a positive perspective.
Our activities are focused in 3 main areas
- Environment - reducing the impact of our operations on the environment through encouraging behaviours and introducing initiatives that minimise waste and maximise efficiency.
- Workplace - building on our existing activities that support equality of opportunity and diversity both in our dealings with clients and stakeholders and also across the organisation.
- Community - encouraging and supporting our staff in volunteering and fundraising opportunities.
Highlights for 2011/2012
- An free energy audit was carried out through BITC. They produced a report for Co-Ownership and made recommendations on heating, lighting and equipment. They also commended the work that had been carried out so far. We will take the appropriate suggestions forward in the coming year.
- We have continued our recycling partnership with Bryson House and have recycled over 4 tonnes of paper (the weight of 2 white rhinos!) and over 130 kilos of plastic and cans in the last 12 months.
- We continue to record and display recycling progress for staff.
- A follow up questionnaire was sent out to staff in order to monitor the effectiveness of our awareness plan. It concluded that staff were more aware of ways to save energy, were prepared to make the extra effort to save energy and that awareness levels had increased significantly.
- A water boiler replaced kitchen kettles saving 90% on cost and energy consumption.
- The internal energy team CHESS meet regularly to further continuous improvement.
- We have been reviewing our governance framework and policies for good practice in terms of meeting the needs of our various stakeholders.
- We continued to provide free staff and materials support for home buyers' advice events organised by local estate agents, financial advisers and developers.
- Our Equality Team has been taking forward consultation of our new equality scheme and the development of our good relations strategy.
- We collected gifts for local children during the Christmas period. The chosen charity being the Barnardo's Campaign, helping bereaved children and their families. This year we bought gifts for 18 children from babies to teenagers who had been bereaved during the year.
- Other charitable fundraising activities during the year included "dressing down" days for various causes such as Marie Curie Cancer Care and a Polish orphanage. We raised over £200 for the Marie Curie Daffodil appeal.
- CHNI organise an annual five a side football tournament for staff and service users in the sector, the Charity Cup was hosted and supported by Lisburn City Council, during Homelessness Awareness Week in April. The Co-Ownership team made it to the semi-finals!
- Staff continued to take part in regular blood donation sessions in Belfast. Special congratulations to a member of staff who made her 100th blood donation this year!