Corporate social responsibility report

1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017

Contact

Address
1 London Street,
Reading,
RG1 4PN

Telephone
+44 (0)118 951 6200

Email
enquiry@fsp-law.com

Philippa Roles

Philippa Roles

We take CSR very seriously, giving it a key status within our overall ethos. Responsibility for CSR activities lies with the CSR Partner, Philippa Roles. Separately on environmental matters, responsibility lies with the Environmental Partner, Joe Lott.

To reinforce this ethos and to ensure that our staff, clients and contacts are kept informed about the full extent of our involvement with CSR projects, every year we report on activities undertaken by the firm and its staff. The current report covers the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

Surprisingly, year on year we are able to continue saying (and genuinely mean) that the activities supported by our staff are frequent and given full commitment. There is no better example of what a wonderful group of people make up the FSP team than looking over the list of CSR activities that staff are involved with; both cross-firm and personally.

In the year 2016/17 we have been actively involved in the following projects and fundraisers.

Pro bono legal work

One of our Commercial Property partners is providing pro-bono legal advice to the Goring and Cleeve Pre-School.

Our Banking and Finance Partner is a volunteer director at the Berkshire Credit Union.

We have provided advice and assistance to the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP) on ad hoc legal issues. The CSR Partner is also an executive director and program lead for small and medium sized enterprises on the TVB LEP board and the chairperson of the Nominations and Governance Committee, as well as sitting on the Funding Escalator Committee and the Business Growth Hub Committee.

Pro bono mentoring / support

We encourage staff to give presentations at the University of Reading and for the National Citizen Service on working in the legal profession, CV writing and interview skills. In addition two members of staff are mentors for the College of Law helping students with their CVs and applications as well as giving general advice and insight on legal careers. Another member of staff is a mentor for students at the Guildford College of Law.

We do interview training in local schools through the Central Berkshire Education Partnership. We also offer work experience places to University of Reading students and to other students who have expressed an interest in learning more about working within the legal sector.

We were one of the first law firms in Reading to commit to providing work experience placements for 16 year olds from less privileged backgrounds through the Reading Cluster of the Legal Social Mobility Programme (alongside partners such as Microsoft, Veritas, Verizon, Telefonica, O2, Olswang and Boyes Turner).

We have junior and trainee solicitors on the Board of the Junior Lawyers Division of The Law Society (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire District).

One of our partners is a mentor for the Real Estate Education Foundation and a number of our staff are supporters of and provide mentoring assistance through Adviza.

We continue to explore ways to work in partnership with local organisations to provide guidance to innovative start-up / early growth businesses in the Thames Valley and our Start-Ups group is particularly active in the business start-up support sector, arranging regular free events to keep local businesses informed of legal changes and support networks.

Charity/community involvement supported by FSP
Fundraising and Donations

Staff have been involved in the following fundraising events over the last twelve months:

  • Our employment team ran a survey to gauge client requirements on content for the Employment Bulletin. As an incentive to complete the survey, the Employment team donated £1 for every completed reply to the charity Headway.
  • Sponsored the Goring 10k run.
  • Staff assisted in a call centre for Comic Relief.
  • Staff took part in the Red Nose Day, Green Park Triathlon.
  • Supported the Woodland Centre Trust through the project tag of Camp Mohawk.
  • Staff took part in the Reading Legal Walk to raise funds for free legal advice services in Reading and the surrounding area.
  • Wore Christmas jumpers to raise money for Macmillans and Save the Children.
  • Attempted (and won) pancake racing in aid of Launchpad.
  • Collected donations for Rabbit Rescue.
  • Got dressed up and took part in the Reading Santa Run for the Reading Rotary Club.

But it’s not all hard work; staff have also attended the following events:

  • the Sue Ryder Out of Office Challenge, which our team made a sizeable contribution to through various sponsorships and activities before the event, we even did a bake sale; 
  • the Gala Charity Fashion Show;
  • the Reading Sports Awards;
  • the Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards; and
  • the Camp Mohawk fundraising quiz.

In addition the firm has made donations to the following charities:

  • The Epilepsy Society
  • Mind
  • The Children’s Society
  • British Heart Foundation
  • National Garden Scheme
  • Tackle Africa
  • Sue Ryder
  • Cancer Research UK
  • The Autism Group
  • Safeline

We also:

(i) sponsored the Young Woman of Achievement Award at the Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Awards;
(ii) sponsored the Reading Sports Awards; and
(iii) sponsored the Coach of the Year Award at the Get Berkshire Active Awards.

Trusteeships

Several staff members sit on charity boards and/or are trustees. We allow staff reasonable time off to fulfil their obligations and will consider any other related requests for support. The organisations that have been assisted include:

  • RSPCA (Reading and Oxon Borders);
  • Berkshire Cricket Community Foundation;
  • Purley Park Trust;
  • Duncan Trust;
  • Heart of Streatley Charitable Trust;
  • Launchpad Reading;
  • Family Resource UK;
  • GAP Festival;
  • Streatley Hill Pre-School;
  • Ways and Means Trust (t/a as Greenshoots); and
  • Headway.

In most cases the trustee positions taken on by our staff are active roles requiring considerable effort and time commitment (for example as chairperson or treasurer).

In addition to the above, a member of staff sits on the fundraising committee for PALS (a charity for disabled children) and another is on the Wargrave Lido fundraising committee.

Governors / school involvement

Some staff members have taken on school governor roles. Many of our staff with children of school age are active on their local parent teacher associations.

One member of staff is a volunteer sailing instructor and there are numerous others that volunteer as a football coaches for under 7’s, under 8’s and under 9’s teams.

Other activities

The fundraising/charitable activities that our staff gets involved with is wide and varied. Below are some examples of activities undertaken that do not fall within the categories set out above:

  • fostering stray and unwanted cats for Thames Valley Animal Welfare;
  • helping to socialise and care for unwanted rabbits;
  • playing in a band providing music for charity events in the Reading, Newbury, Aldermaston and Basingstoke areas;
  • youth leader for a Basingstoke based church;
  • rescuing and walking stray dogs at weekends; and
  • Christmas carol singing.

Our next report will be issued in April 2018 but there is a dedicated CSR page on our web page which is updated regularly.