Action for Children set to become new national charity partner of FirstGroup
Children’s charity Action for Children is set to become the new national partner of transport operator FirstGroup. The two organisations will form a three-year partnership potentially worth around £1 million in cash, fundraising, and the commercial value of gifts in kind. Action for Children was chosen following a ballot of thousands of employees and will be the main beneficiary of FirstGroup’s corporate responsibility activities across its UK businesses; First Bus, Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express. The partnership is a key part of the company’s community strategy and the partnership will run from 2018 until 2021. Tim O’Toole, Chief Executive of FirstGroup, said: “I am delighted that Action for Children will be our new UK Charity of Choice partner. We received applications from some truly inspirational charities, and thousands of our employees took part in the voting process. We’re looking forward to April next year when we shall begin an exciting and productive three-year partnership.” Sir Tony Hawkhead, CEO of Action for Children, said: “With 75% of adults who have lifelong mental health issues first experiencing symptoms by the age of 18, it is essential that we act early to prevent these illnesses from having a devastating impact on the rest of their lives. I am thrilled that Action for Children has been chosen as FirstGroup’s new charity partner. “Our partnership will enable us to provide expert mental health support directly to the children and young people we help. In addition, these specialists will upskill our existing staff, leaving a lasting legacy in our organisation. Throughout the next three years, FirstGroup will be a key partner in helping us to achieve our ambition that any child who needs help gets help.” The journey to find the company’s next UK Charity of Choice started earlier in the year when the names of more than 90 charities were suggested by employees. Those charities were whittled down to four finalists and Action for Children was selected following an all-employee vote. The partnership with Action for Children will be the fourth that FirstGroup has adopted, following successful partnerships with Prostate Cancer UK, Save The Children and Macmillan Cancer Support. FirstGroup is on course to donate more than £1 million in cash, fundraising, and the commercial value of gifts in kind to its current employee-voted charity of choice, Prostate Cancer UK, before the partnership completes in 2018. FirstGroup’s financial support has funded the distribution of more than one million Know Your Prostate pocket guides which include details on how to spot the symptoms of prostate cancer.