One of the UN Sustainable Development Goal aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”. At Bernicia, we were an early adopter of the Good Work Pledge with the North of Tyne Combined Authority and, as such, have already implemented and continue to improve our offer on:
- Valuing and Rewarding our Workforce
- Promoting Health and Wellbeing
- Effective Communications and Representation
- Developing a Balanced Workforce
- A Social Responsibility
Although all equally important, we are particularly proud of the commitment we have to social responsibility and the wider impact this has on the North East.
As one of the largest businesses in the region, we invest our skills, insight and financial capacity to leverage greater equality of opportunity for the proud and passionate people of the north east. Our current strategy saw us investing £190m into new and existing homes, services and communities across the region.
With a determination to increase our impact, we established the Bernicia Foundation, using the profits from our successful commercial arm, Kingston, to create a grant pot of £1m to support social and financial inclusion and inspirational young people across the North East.
Working in partnership with the Northern Learning Trust on our award-winning network of Learning Hives, we deliver programmed activities to support unemployed people develop the skills, confidence and self-esteem they need to take the next steps into training and employment.
Our Runway Programme increases the aspirations of our region’s 16-24 year olds through work experience, coaching, traineeships and apprenticeships to support new entrants to the workplace.
We love supporting others who have their own business ideas that promote wellbeing and employment in the wider community. The Northern Soul Kitchen uses premises gifted by Bernicia in Berwick to provide a café using unsold but edible donated produce. Gaining work experience in the café is one of the ways that customers can pay for a meal.
This is only a small flavour of what we do to support the sustainable development goal but we believe our ongoing commitment to social responsibility is one of the things that makes Bernicia a great place to work. Our staff do too, with 90% agreeing that Bernicia has a positive impact on society.
We brought forward the review of our strategy by 12 months and will be using the launch in April 2022 to drive even more ambitious goals in social responsibility. On top of our existing spend, we will commit an additional £2m to target employability, isolation and living well in the community. We look forward to playing an even greater role in delivering the aspirations of the North East.