For me, January is the worst month of the year.
First of all, it’s long. And my bank balance does not look too healthy after overspending at Christmas. Next it’s the lack of daylight. Short, dark and freezing cold days. 20 January, or Blue Monday, is even considered by some to be the saddest day of the year.
Pair this with what can sometimes feel like a constant bombardment of bad news. It’s all around us – you only need to pick up a paper or turn on the television to find it.
So I feel it's a perfect time to share some good news. How about reading some positive stories for a change?
Here’s a round-up of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) highlights over the last 3 months, showcasing how we’re giving back to the community and trying to make a positive stamp on the world around us.
Supporting International Day of Persons with Disabilities
#PurpleLightUp is a global movement designed to draw attention to the empowerment of disabled people. Across business and government alike, it has become synonymous with International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) held annually on 3 December.
#PurpleLightUp calls on people to drive this social change movement within their organisations.
On 3 December, Companies House was lit up purple to show our support.
Donating furniture to local charities
Our reception and restaurant areas are undergoing a refurbishment and as part of this, we have identified over 290 items that, rather than being put in the bin, can be donated to the local community.
With each item having a donation value of £100 – we are potentially donating over £29,000 worth of furniture to the community – and avoiding these items being put into landfill.
Donating computer equipment to Ty Bronna
Ty Bronna is a halfway residential house for young adults who have experienced homelessness.
In November we donated computers that can be used by the residents to search for jobs, access services online and find information on how to get into work or education.
Recycling crisp packets
Keep Wales Tidy has introduced a new scheme where all brands of crisp packets can be recycled. Once collected, the packets are shredded before being turned into practical outdoor products such as garden benches or watering cans.
In November, Companies House donated around 20 bags of crisp packets to be recycled. And the scheme is still ongoing!
I always thought crisp packets were not recyclable, and always felt guilty having to throw them in the bin.
After hearing this initiative, I’ve located my nearest drop off station and started collecting crisp packets to be recycled back home. Improving my knowledge of sustainable practice, and feeling better for doing so.
You may remember from reading our team volunteering day blog that one of our CSR targets for 2019/20 is to provide 500 volunteering opportunities across all our offices.
By December 2019, 525 members of staff had been out on volunteer days.
For example, in December, staff attended their monthly IT drop in sessions at City Hospice. Experts from our digital teams were on board to help members of the hospice with any IT issues or queries.
24 hour 'gameathon'
In December we held a 24-hour ‘gameathon’ in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. This comprised of a full 24-hour gaming stream starting at 7am on Friday and finishing at 7am on Saturday.
Various events were held throughout the day, including virtual reality (VR) experiences, playing games in the 'Competitive Corner' and the inaugural FIFA world championship.
This raised a total of £1500 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
In December our finance department held various events to raise money for Ty Hafan. This in turn allowed us to buy 16 different games for the hospice.
A Companies House employee, our very own Father Christmas, delivered the games whilst also taking part in the Ty Hafan Christmas panto!
Over the past 6 years, Companies House staff have raised on average £10,000 per year for charity. By 20 December, in 2019 alone we had raised over £19,000.
Our commitment to CSR has proven to make a huge difference to communities.
We have provided skills, training and donations to groups and charities that have needed a helping hand. We have educated our own staff and provided opportunities for personal fulfilment, as well as continuously taking small steps to help save the planet.
We aim to do even more this year, so keep your eyes peeled for more information on our CSR activities.
I hope this blog has been a warming read. A little ray of sunshine on a cold winter's day.
Maybe you're even inspired to do some charitable work yourself. If you already do, good on you and thank you. Us humans can be a powerful force when we pull together. And when we do, it can brighten up somebody's day - even in the dark old days of January!