A group of community-minded employees from Cadbury have donated their winnings to Guide Dogs for the Blind after picking up the Birmingham Post’s first ever Corporate Social Responsibility award.
The award, sponsored by Royal Mail, saw Cadbury’s Tent Will Travel Team beat off competition from some of the region’s biggest – and smallest – companies in their bid to become the first winner of the prestigious award.
The winners received a special cut glass engraved trophy, dinner at Edmunds in Brindleyplace and a cheque for £500 to the charity of their choice.
The Tent Will Travel team is a dedicated group of Cadbury employees, both current and retired, who tour fetes, festivals and other charitable events with their ‘travelling tent’, selling Cadbury confectionery and other products, holding raffles and tombolas – all to raise money to improve the well-being of the local community.
Launched in 2001, this fundraising group’s first project was Winter Watch which transformed four run-down properties into furnished temporary accommodation for long-term homeless people.
While the Tent Will Travel team raised funds and co-ordinated the project, they also encouraged colleagues to contribute furniture, supplies and time - after a successful refurbishment, 11 rough sleepers were successfully housed in December 2001.
Since 2005, the team from Cadbury has raised more than £25,000 which has been donated to a variety of charitable causes throughout Birmingham; £4,000 was raised to help fund a new sports hall at Hunters Technology College, £4,000 was raised to buy digital TVs for local care homes for the elderly and funds have also gone to sponsor the training of Wispa, a Labrador puppy now well on her way to becoming a guide dog for the blind.
Jason Guiden, who works at Cadbury and is one of the founding members of the Tent Will Travel team, said he felt the prize reflected the socially responsible ethos of the whole organisation.
He said: “We are very proud and feel honoured to receive this award from the Birmingham Post.
“It represents our passion for investing in the local community and illustrates our community spirit as a team. The prize money we received will be donated to Guide Dogs for the Blind, in particular to our guide dog in training named Wispa.”
Diana Mager, regional development fundraiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind, said the support of initiatives like Tent Will Travel were essential for the long term work of the charity.
She said: “I would like to personally thanks the Tent Will Travel team for all the hard work and commitment they have put in to raising funds towards the training of Wispa.
“They are a pleasure to work with and I hope to continue working with them over the coming years. With due recognition and support the Tent Will Travel team can continue to create these important relationships in the future, ensuring the long-term sustainability of their charity work.”
The award itself was sponsored by Royal Mail and regional operations director Paul Jobling - who judged the entries alongside Post editor Alun Thorne, Fidelis Hynam from the Children’s Hospital and consultant Mark Triggs - said it was a challenge to pick a winner from the high calibre of entries.
He said: “It was extremely difficult to pick a winner such was the calibre of the entries. It is good to know that so many business in Birmingham and the West Midlands take CSR so seriously.
“However, the Cadbury submission really stood out. The level of engagement the project has had from the work force - both those currently working and those who have left the business - shows that this is a cause that people feel passionately about and their enthusiasm and commitment are to be applauded.”