6 keys to successful corporate partnerships

Wednesday 10 February 2021
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From February 2018 to December 2020, Action for Children and CBRE worked in a partnership to make sure that children in care and young care leavers receive the level of support that they need and deserve

In February 2018, we set a target with CBRE to support 700 children in care and their foster families. Thanks to the success of this partnership, we are now hoping to reach over 5000 young people a year through a long-lasting legacy of support.

We also exceeded our goals for fundraising and staff engagement. We raised over £1.3 million pounds (160% of our target) and are proud that 100% of staff surveyed recommend volunteering for Action for Children.

Read on to find out six key elements driving this success and see what impact a partnership with Action for Children can make.

1. Expanding the reach of our services

For young people leaving care, the future can look uncertain – particularly now, with young people being hit the hardest by the rising unemployment as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

With the support of CBRE, we were able to hire six Transition Workers across the UK. These are specialists, who can support young people with experience of care aged 16 to 24 with the challenging transition from care into independence and, minimise the impact of this change on their lives.

It has been inspirational to be part of the lives of the young people that have been in foster care, transitioning into independence. Being able to instill skills and knowledge that they will be able to use throughout their lives. To be able to see the accomplishments and progresses of the young people makes my work worthwhile.

Sahana, Transition Worker, North of England
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2. Driving digital innovation

Our partnership with CBRE gave us the freedom to explore different ways of developing products. It helped us get to the core of how best we can support young people entering care, by working alongside young people and carers.

With CBRE’s pro-bono and financial support, we were able to develop The Big Welcome, a digital handbook to help children in care feel more in control when moving between placements. The Big Welcome gives children an insight into their future family and home, so that they can settle in and feel safe and secure more quickly.

Our partnership with CBRE has been game changing for Action for Children, their investment has not only allowed us to introduce specialist support for children, young people and carers but also to think outside the box, be innovative and explore new ways to working or challenge the existing provisions of support to make a real, meaningful difference to the lives of children and young people in care who are so often forgotten.

Debbie Tomlinson, Head of Fostering, Action for Children
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3. Raising urgent funds

Fundraising is so important as it allows us to deliver life-changing support for thousands of children and families.

CBRE’s funding helped to set up a Departure Fund for young people leaving Action for Children care and supported accommodation services across the UK. Up to 40 departure packs were made available, meaning these young people will be able to cover the cost of essential items, a deposit for rent, or unexpected costs when they start living independently.

The fund has had a positive impact on many vulnerable young people. One of those supported was a 19-year-old young person with autism spectrum disorder and anxiety who was leaving Action for Children’s residential school in Wales. They were supported with food for several weeks, helping to reduce their anxiety around moving to independence.

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4. Campaigning for change

The government policy Staying Put gives young people in foster care the chance to stay with their former foster carers up to the age of 21 - rather than having to move out at the age of 18.

It means young people can have more time to prepare for adulthood, with the support of their carers.

Offering young people the chance to stay in a loving and nurturing family environment for longer, gives them the stability they need when so much around them is changing.

With support from CBRE, we created a report that explores how we can make sure all young people leaving foster care can keep living with their carers once they turn 18, if that’s what they want.

This allowed Action for Children to outline many different options that the government could take forward to effectively cover the costs of Staying Put. These measures would mean foster carers could afford to support Staying Put arrangements.

I have been in care for nine years and been supported by the transition worker for a year. The impact that she has had in my life has been amazing. This woman is essentially my fairy godmother; there is nothing she can’t do and I have really benefited from her help, if I didn’t have her support or care I would be stuck.

Young person
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5. Winning awards

Over the course of a three-year partnership, Action for Children and CBRE have been recognised with awards and plaudits, including:

  • Charity Partnership, Property and Construction at the Business Charity Awards 2020
  • Outstanding Corporate Partner award at The Stephenson Awards 2020
  • Shortlisted for ‘Partnership with a National Charity – Children’ at the Better Society Awards 2020
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6. Improved staff engagement

Volunteering uptake had traditionally been very low at CBRE. Over the course of our three-year partnership, 2,291 hours of support have been donated.

We are so grateful for CBRE’s support on our various pro-bono projects and certainly recognise the significant value of your teams’ support and expertise in helping us along the way. Pro-bono has been such a significant element of our partnership and a real asset to Action for Children.

Carol Iddon, Former Deputy CEO and Managing Director of Children's Services, Action for Children

We’ve seen CBRE supporting lots of children’s services across the UK with practical team tasks. For example, revamping outside spaces through painting and gardening. Colleagues also helped Action for Children host Christmas parties for their Young Carers services and supported their Short Breaks services in the school holidays by chaperoning education and enrichment opportunities.

Over three years CBRE colleagues have collectively:

  • Cycled over 200,000 kms
  • Ran over 4000 miles
  • Rowed over 3000 kms
  • Slept under the stars
  • Baked thousands of cakes
  • Trekked, quizzed and auctioned…
  • And even gone virtual – taking part in online quizzes and virtual fitness challenges

We were thrilled when 100% of CBRE volunteers surveyed told us they would recommend volunteering with Action for Children.

Thinking about partnering with Action for Children?
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