The Regent’s Place Community Fund is an initiative by businesses on the estate to help the local community tackle its challenges. The Fund aims to make a real difference to our local area, putting Regent’s Place at the heart of a thriving, vibrant community, benefiting all involved. As a collaboration between businesses, the Fund can unlock financial support, time, resources and expertise to help the local community and grassroots organisations.
We interviewed our one of our fund partners, Luke Gregory at Facebook, and Regent’s Place Community Fund Manager, Marilyn Mensah, to discuss this unique partnership and how their support can make a lasting positive difference.
Why does the Community Fund matter?
Marilyn: Through the Regent’s Place Community Fund, businesses across the campus and local charities are partnering on big local issues – employability, health and wellbeing, and social cohesion. Rather than each company working in isolation, we take a strategic approach, sharing our funds, skills and resources to create a much greater, lasting benefit for our local community.
Luke: Facebook always wants to invest in communities where we have offices. Through the Regent’s Place Community Fund, we’ve gained insights into the challenges facing people living near our London office and discovered great local charities and causes. It’s astonishing that some of the most deprived areas of the country are on the doorstep of thriving commercial neighbourhoods. Working with non-profits, we can have a huge positive impact.
How does your partnership work?
Luke: All the businesses that contribute to the Fund are actively involved in choosing the causes that we invest in. So, we all influence decision making and feel connected to the organisations we’re supporting. Every year, there are lots of funding applications and the process for reviewing them is fair, open and transparent. British Land should feel proud of what they’ve achieved, helping bring everybody together.
Marilyn: We’ve been partnering with our wider community around Regent’s Place for over 30 years and the Fund builds on this legacy. We develop collaborative relationships with local partners and learn from each other.
What benefits does this bring?
Luke: The numbers are impressive – over 1,500 people benefited from projects we helped fund last year – but it’s the personal journeys that stand out for me. One of my colleagues mentored a young woman who had been living on the streets and was attending a jobs club run by homeless charity C4WS, supported by the Fund. Over time, they developed trust and a strong relationship, which continued even after my colleague moved onto another firm. The young woman is now living in shared accommodation and has secured an apprenticeship with a global media firm, which C4WS says is in no small part due to her mentor’s support.
Marilyn: Each year, we get an independent review of what the Fund has achieved. Over the last two years, 40 people have gained jobs through projects we supported and more than 120 have started on the path to employment, benefiting from counselling, mentoring and work experience. Last year, over 250 local residents taking part in projects we funded said their physical, mental or emotional health had improved, and around 140 reported increased confidence. Importantly, behind each of these numbers there are many individual stories.
Luke: The Fund supports our corporate goals and benefits our employees too. Through the Fund, we’ve got closer to our local community here in London. There are so many opportunities for our team to get involved – from mentoring young people and hosting tours of our offices, to donating the free advertising credit all employees get each month to non-profits and supporting them with training. It feels good to have an impact day-to-day, face-to-face with people in your neighbourhood.
Marilyn: I look forward to the relationships continuing to grow, for everyone’s benefit. I also want even more businesses and people to become actively involved. This will all contribute to Regent’s Place’s continued success as a place founded on the principles of knowledge, inclusion, sustainability and smart.
Luke: I’d love to see companies elsewhere setting up something similar. By coming together, companies can support a broader range of causes and groups, so employees with diverse interests and backgrounds can all get involved in something they care about. It's been a fantastic first few years for the Regent’s Place Community Fund and I’m excited for the future.
Contributing businesses 2019