Charities and community groups across the UK are set to benefit as Challenge 2008, the annual volunteer event organised by Zurich’s Community Trust, the charitable arm of leading financial services group Zurich in the UK, launches across the country.
Started in 1990, Challenge is one of the largest corporate charity programmes in the UK. Every year Zurich encourages organisations local to its main offices to challenge its 8,000 staff to help make a difference. This year the company received in excess of 200 challenges from organisations based around Zurich’s main office locations in Fareham, Farnborough, Swindon, Cheltenham, Leeds and Birmingham.
Details of the challenges were sent to staff in Zurich and staff in Capita working on the Zurich account yesterday and within a couple of hours over 130 of the projects had already been taken up. The challenges range from building a fox-proof chicken house for single homeless people’s charity Threshold Housing Link in Swindon to decorating a classroom which hasn’t had a lick of paint for twenty years at Meadows Special School in Birmingham and to arranging a day out for people with disabilities from Bells Piece in Farnham.
Cheltenham based children’s bereavement charity, Winston’s Wish, which is one of Zurich’s Community Trust local charity partners and has benefited from the Challenge initiative for over five years, has challenged staff this year to hand out refreshments and medals at their Family Fun Run and to help run their Wish Upon a Star campaign in the Regent Arcade in Cheltenham where the public are encouraged to purchase a star and dedicate it to someone special.
Commenting, Julie Stokes, Founder of Winston’s Wish said ‘The Challenge volunteers are an inspiration to all and we’re proud to call them friends as well as supporters’.
Pam Webb, Head of the Zurich Community Trust comments: “Challenge has become a key annual volunteering event at Zurich and very much part of its corporate culture. It is eagerly anticipated and always captures the imagination of Zurich staff, inspiring them to do great things to help local charities and community groups.”
For further information, please contact:
Kate Hodges, Zurich’s Community Trust
Tel: 01793 503711
Notes to Editors:
About Challenge 2008
· Challenge is Zurich’s biggest annual volunteer event. Employee teams get together to complete a one off project which benefits a local voluntary organisation. It’s fun to do and offers managers and staff a great teambuilding opportunity.
· Challenge is now in its 18th year and last year around 2,000 staff, together with some friends and family, got involved with 188 Challenges across Zurich locations all over the UK.
Challenge 2008 was launched internally to Zurich staff in conjunction with Capita staff on 22 April. Staff from Birmingham, Cheltenham, Fareham, Farnborough, Portsmouth, Leeds and Swindon took up over 130 challenges on that day.
· Challenge projects range from re-decoration, to entertaining a group of people (often a BBQ or party), to re-plant or clear a garden area to taking groups out on day trips. Sometimes, it can be providing volunteers for events, fundraising or collecting books.
· NEW for 2008 – added business skill donations, Skillshare, to our offer so that staff may be able to share anything from IT and design to risk assessments to marketing plans.
· These challenges will typically be completed anytime from now until the end of September.
· Staff will meet up with the local charity to agree what needs to be done. Fundraising and asking for donated goods, to carry out the challenge, will then commence. Zurich’s Community Trust will match any monies raised by 50%, and for the first time this year up to 100% for the larger and more expensive Challenges. Health & Safety have vetted all Challenges and Zurich’s Health & Safety team is on hand if a further review if required.
About Zurich’s Community Trust
· Zurich’s Community Trust, a registered charity funded by pre-tax profits and donations from its people, provides an umbrella for all Zurich’s community involvement in the UK.
· Zurich Community Trust manages and matches Zurich employees’ and financial advisers’ £1 million donations, 20,000 hours of volunteering including 188 annual team challenge activities involving around 2,000 staff.
· Zurich’s Community Trust programmes create sustainable change through long-term funding and active employee involvement. Zurich works closely with innovative partners to significantly impact the lives of disadvantaged people in the UK and overseas. In 2007, these programmes help nearly 500 vulnerable older people through a telephone support service, 150 families where a parent misuses drugs and around 6,000 children who have a mental health issue. In addition, there is a programme in southern India with personal development opportunities for employees.
· In 2007 over 700 charities and 17 community partners were supported.
· Zurich Community Trust has donated around £60 million and celebrates its 35th Anniversary later this year.
· Visit Zurich’s website on www.zurich.org.uk for more details.
Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) is an insurance-based financial services provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices in North America and Europe as well as in Asia Pacific, Latin America and other markets. Founded in 1872, the Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It employs approximately 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries.
Zurich Community Trust (UK) Limited
Tel +44 (0) 1793 503711 Int: 7902 3711
Address PO Box 1288, Swindon, SN1 1FL
Zurich Financial Services (UKISA) Limited. Registered in England and Wales under registration number 01860680. Registered office: UK Life Centre, Station Road, Swindon SN1 1EL. Zurich Insurance Company, a limited company incorporated in Switzerland and registered in the Canton of Zurich (number CH-020.3.929.583-0). UK branch registered in England and Wales under registration number BR105. Registered UK Head Office: Zurich House, Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire P01 1DU Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Zurich Financial Services (UKISA) Limited and Zurich Insurance Company are members of the Zurich Financial Services Group which consists of Zurich Financial Services, a company registered in Switzerland (number CH-023.3.020.5108) and its subsidiary undertakings from time to time.