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Supporting local communities

Supporting local communities

Vibrant high streets and town centres are good for the community and for our business. Community engagement has been defined as one of the ‘four Cs’ we ask stores to follow in creating the WHSmith working culture – Customers, Colleagues, Commercial and Community. Our store teams are active members in their communities, with many store managers and staff giving their time to support local councils, town centre management and high street security groups to promote a thriving business environment. In addition, most of our stores regularly support local schools and charities through donations of depreciated stock, and by inviting schools into our stores for events promoting literacy and a love of reading.

Staff from our head offices have been involved in a host of volunteering activities this year, helping to paint community centres and host get-togethers for local people to combat loneliness in the community. They also hosted a careers event in conjunction with the Harbour Project, a charity which supports refugees from their applications for asylum to becoming integrated members of the community. Eight of our volunteers welcomed six refugees of varying backgrounds and English language ability, telling them a little about the WHSmith history and answering questions about working in the UK. We also provided advice on how to negotiate an interview, demonstrating with examples of typical questions and answers, and how best to phrase responses.

Other donations through our stores

We have a longstanding relationship with Save the Children and during Autumn and Winter 2017, we worked together to raise essential funds for children in desperate need. WHSmith employees and customers were proud to raise over £40,000 for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day 2017. As well as selling Christmas cards, Christmas giftwrap and teddy bears in aid of Save the Children, WHSmith employees across the UK were champions of the charity’s Christmas Jumper Day campaign. Our employees were some of the four million people who donned a sweater to support Save the Children.

The proceeds from the sales of single-use carrier bags in our UK stores are donated to good causes. In our Travel business, the levy from single-use bags went to Shelter to support the charity’s vital work with individuals and families affected by homelessness. In our High Street business, the carrier bag levy is administered by the WHSmith Community Fund, which makes grants to hundreds of customer-nominated schools and charities across the UK. This year, we helped good causes supporting hospices and hospitals, community projects such as children’s play facilities and cycleways, and schools and pre-schools. More information on the criteria for these grants is available at http://www.whsmith.co.uk/communitygrants

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Measuring our community investment

We use the London Benchmarking Group’s (LBG) reporting model to calculate our community contributions to provide a standardised way of managing and measuring our corporate community engagement.
The chart presents a breakdown of our community contributions, using the LBG’s reporting model. We measure the direct contributions we make to the community, in the form of cash donations, gifts in kind and also staff time and management costs.