Essex Community Foundation

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RSM staff support their local community

6th November 2019

City of Chelmsford Mencap has become the latest local charity to benefit from the support of generous staff working at the Chelmsford office of RSM, the leading national audit, tax and consulting firm.

The company makes giving back to the community a high priority and has always encouraged staff to volunteer for local charities, share their expertise and organise regular fundraising events.

The RSM Community Fund was established by the firm in 2008 with the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) to ensure a long-term approach to their corporate social responsibility and to build on the involvement of their employees.

The endowed fund, which is invested with other funds that ECF manages, has grown steadily with enthusiastic support from the staff who have raised more than £24,000.

Jennifer Collins, private client tax manager at RSM in Chelmsford said: “Many of our employees live in and around Chelmsford and we are passionate about supporting local grassroots voluntary organisations working at the heart of their local community.

“We actively encourage our employees to get involved with our community fund and they do a fantastic job of raising money.

“As well as fundraising, we offer Payroll Giving which many of the staff have signed up to. Payroll Giving is an easy way for companies to engage their staff in corporate social responsibility. It is also a cost-effective way for staff to give to charities, as the donation comes out of their salary after National Insurance, but before tax.”

The RSM Community Fund in Chelmsford has proved to be a great example of a company making a positive impact in its local area.  Each year ECF presents the RSM team with applications from local charities and voluntary groups who are seeking funding to support their work.

The team consider the applications and decide which ones they would like to support. To date, they have agreed grants totalling over £11,000 to support a wide range of local projects and organisations.

The latest grant to be awarded is to City of Chelmsford Mencap (CCM) for £1,758 towards the cost of employing a specialist support worker.

Jennifer Collins said: “CCM is an amazing organisation that provides a wide range of support for its members.

“So many charities work with limited resources and rely on volunteers. Having qualified, paid staff provides stability for the organisation and its members and we are pleased that our grant will help Mencap to expand their team so they can support even more families.

“There is so much great work being done by local charities and voluntary groups and it would be difficult, by ourselves, to choose which ones to support. Working with ECF makes it easier for us, as they introduce us to groups and projects that we may not have heard of.

“They explain how much money is needed and why. This helps us to make decisions and we also know that if we can’t support an application or provide all the money that is required, ECF may have another fund that can be involved.  This means that organisations and charities are more likely to get the vital funds they are seeking.

“Learning about the needs of our community inspires us to do more fundraising to grow our fund, which ensures long-term support for local charities and voluntary groups.”

City of Chelmsford Mencap, based on Mildmay Road, provides services and activities for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Members enjoy leisure, social and sporting activities and are also offered welfare advice.

Grace Lidstone, Services Manager, said: “People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn than most and need additional support to develop new skills.  Unfortunately, they continue to experience lack of understanding, discrimination and difficulty accessing mainstream services.

“We work with our Members to develop life, work and social skills and, importantly, help them maximise their independence and reach their potential.

“We are so grateful for this grant as it will help us to employ another member of the team who will provide therapeutic care to those with higher needs”.

Previous grants awarded from the RSM Community Fund, through ECF, include:

  • Braintree Area Foodbank: £2,047 to help them replace a van which was stolen just before Christmas and was central to their operation.
  • CHESS: £1,222 to continue specialist work with homeless people in Chelmsford helping them to recover from trauma.
  • Families InFocus: £1,149 to continue a Saturday activity club for families who have children with disabilities and special needs.
  • Stroke Club Mid Essex: £1,000 to help support survivors of a stroke and their families.

ECF currently manages 150 charitable funds on behalf of companies, families, individuals and public agencies. 

To find out how you can set up a charitable fund in the name of your family or company to support local charities, call ECF on 01245 355947.