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Corporate social responsibility

Working with your local community brings a wide range of benefits. For many businesses, local customers are an important source of sales. By improving your reputation, you may find it easier to recruit employees. A good relationship with local authorities can also make your life easier. For example, some local authorities prefer to award contracts to businesses with a record of community involvement.

There are many ways to get involved. Some businesses choose to support a local charity, or sponsor a local event. It makes commercial sense to get involved in an activity related to your product. This lets you use your expertise as well as showing the human face of your business. For example, some restaurants provide food to local homeless groups, while builders may give free labour and materials to community projects.

You can find out more about getting involved with your community on the Small Business Journey website - Opens in a new window.

Look for opportunities that will directly benefit you - for example, by generating publicity, or improving the neighbourhood around your premises.

Many businesses involve their employees in working with the local community. For example, you might support charities chosen by employees. Some businesses encourage employees to volunteer for community activities and also give them paid time off for this. As well as improving your community relations, this can help motivate employees and can help develop their interpersonal and team participation skills.

You could also give your employees the option of making regular charitable donations which are deduced 'at source' from their pay.

Business in the Community (BITC) has developed the CommunityMark standard to help businesses get the most of out community involvement. For more information, read about the CommunityMark standard on the BITC website - Opens in a new window.

Community Justice projects

The government's community justice initiative helps businesses work with local agencies to improve the quality of life in their local area. This can benefit your business in a number of ways. For example, if your business is suffering because of damage to your property or the surrounding area, the community justice team can work with you to address this.

Your business could take a pro-active approach to dealing with local crime by supporting recent offenders. You could help them learn new skills by offering them work experience or training, as part of a sentence or on a voluntary basis. Or you could provide financial or practical resources to the local community justice team. And getting involved with local regeneration projects is another way of helping attract new business to your area. Find your nearest Community Justice project by checking our list of current schemes - Opens in a new window.

You could also support staff who volunteer in the criminal justice system, eg as mentors, special constables, youth offender panel members, or in victim and witness support. See our guide on allowing time off work.

You could offer financial or practical resources to the local community justice team.

Find your nearest Community Justice project by checking our list of current schemes - Opens in a new window.

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