Cape Town and Brindleyplace Aren’t So Different Charlotte is our Corporate Partnerships Manager and her mission is for all of our business supporters to have an insight into life here at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice… As I write my blogs I aim to let you know about the great work happening here, my musings into corporate social responsibility practices and what they really mean to the local community. In January I was very excited to go to South Africa on honeymoon. One of the things that I wasn’t expecting was how much charity activity happens there, and in particular corporate responsibility and responsible businesses. One of the first places we visited when we landed in Cape Town was the V&A Waterfront. As we approached the Waterfront the Cape Wheel stood out as a shining beacon. As we got closer I realised that it was also a fundraising initiative, Turn for Good. For each trip, they donate R5 (30P) to the Laureus Sport Foundation for young underprivileged children to take part in sport and enjoy the benefits it brings. Just around the corner but still on the Waterfront there was a ‘woof project’ – it’s a pop up dog adoption initiative. It is a funky shipping container that moves from place to place to accelerate dog adoption. The V&A Waterfront is a really busy place with tourists as well as locals; there are bars, restaurants, a shopping centre, a food market, a diamond museum and it’s also the ferry point for crossing to Robben Island. Incorporating community activities really adds to the bustling space, creates another level of interest, helps to stimulate footfall whilst giving community organisations an awareness boost. When I had a little research, I found that V&A Waterfront has a full social investment policy; there is a community programme for grant making and free provision of space, schemes to support small business development and an environmental sustainability policy where they focus on water savings, waste recycling etc. It really feels as though they have incorporated responsible business into as many ways as possible and it’s working. There is a return for them too, they have won many awards boosting their exposure and adding to their green credentials. The waterfront reminds me of Brindleyplace – especially this week as we are celebrating the lives of loved ones with the return of the Forget Me Not art installation. Brindleyplace have warmly welcomed Birmingham St Mary’s for a second year to use the beautiful setting for our stunning art installation in the heart of Birmingham to celebrate the lives of loved ones lost. The visual tribute gives local people the chance to celebrate and remember loved ones. For the last two years I have dedicated a flower to my grandma who was cared for at the Hospice, last year’s flower is in a flower pot in my parent’s garden, and I know this year’s vivid pink forget me not will be joining it when we take down the installation on Sunday. It is great to see these two spaces, across two different continents, building social responsibility into their everyday and seeing that it can have a positive return for them too. What’s next for corporate partnerships at Birmingham St Mary’s? Watch this space!