easyNetworks announces programme of long-term community support and charity
Portsmouth’s leading IT and telecoms provider easyNetworks is delighted to announce a programme of long-term support for local charities The LifeHouse and South Downs Equine Therapy, including cash donations and releasing staff for volunteering.
Earlier this month Ria White, Operations Director of easyNetworks, made the decision to cancel the staff Christmas party. Although colleagues will miss out on mince pies and party hats this year, the decision became the catalyst for a programme of community support that has resulted in partnerships with charities working with homelessness and food poverty and disabled and disadvantaged children.
The company’s entire Christmas party budget of £600, plus £100 of Ria’s own money, has been donated to The LifeHouse, a not-for-profit charity based in Southsea for the homeless and those living in food poverty in the city of Portsmouth.
The LifeHouse, run by manager Mike Morell and a fantastic team of volunteers, is a local kitchen and support centre which doubles up as a food bank delivering food parcels across Portsmouth.
It serves hot meals twice a week, and the money donated will go towards refurbishing the dining area at the drop-in centre, to allow for more space, new tables, and a brand-new breakfast and hot drinks section.
Alongside providing hot meals, The LifeHouse offers free clothes, winter coats, equipment for rough sleeping and access to local support services. All services are provided on a no questions asked basis - clients could be homeless, under-housed or struggling on benefits. Regardless of their current situation, they can receive the support that they desperately need at Christmas and beyond.
The LifeHouse is also helping COVID positive clients find temporary accommodation to properly isolate, reducing the spread within the homeless community, and therefore maintaining the safety of other clients.
Ria and her fellow directors at easyNetworks have gone further than a one-off donation, as the company has made a commitment to support the community by allowing staff to volunteer on company time. Staff can choose between working with the LifeHouse or helping South Downs Equine Therapy Community Interest Company, and easyNetwork’s apprentices will be taking part as part of their training. Ria said of this decision:
“We know that while our cash donation and food collections would be welcome at Christmas, to make a real difference, we need longer-term relationships with our charitable partners. Allowing staff to volunteer within work hours is good for the charities as it provides resources when they need them, and good for staff development as they are challenged to engage with the community, enhancing their communications and problem-solving skills.”
Mike Morell, LifeHouse manager, celebrates establishing the partnership with easyNetworks:
"Together, we will work with those who are sleeping rough, under-housed or find themselves isolated in our community. We will look to provide more and better food and a wider range of support services for those so disadvantaged. easyNetworks is sponsoring an extra fridge-freezer and helping LifeHouse build an improved servery counter in our main dining room.”
Bryony Copnall, Digital Marketing Executive at easyNetworks, has volunteered at The LifeHouse and South Downs Equine Therapy. She commented on the company’s support for the community:
“easyNetworks is well known in Portsmouth and nationally for providing reliable communications infrastructure for businesses, so we are excited to be working with The Lifehouse to improve their own infrastructure to support their services to clients. Helping at The LifeHouse and the Equine Therapy project is great for staff, increases our presence within the community and shows the company’s determination to invest in the city.”
easyNetworks supports the South Downs Equine Therapy project, which offers horse riding opportunities for children with physical disabilities, high levels of anxiety or educational issues as well as adults with learning disabilities. The clients over time will learn equestrian skills, but the main purpose of the project is to allow them to have a holistic equine experience as well as reconnect with nature.
Equine therapy takes the clients away from an often stressful home environment to a beautiful rural location, reconnecting the child or young person with nature and allowing them to enjoy the freedom and peace of the isolated space. Volunteers help clear the stables, tend to the horses and assist in equine therapy alongside director Alison Couzens and her trained team.
Richard Gwilliam, Managing Director of easyNetworks who has also volunteered with South Downs Equine Therapy, says of the charitable partnerships:
“We are part of both the easy family of brands and the wider family of Portsmouth. Our company is rooted in the community in Portsmouth, and our investment in apprentices and trainees has always reflected that. As a successful local based business, we are now pleased to develop relationships with charities that directly benefit people living in the city.”