Reciprocate members and staff from Oxfordshire Community Foundation joined over 950 delegates at yesterday’s Business in Oxford conference at The King’s Centre in Oxford. Delegates enjoyed seminars on a wide range of topics, including a session on corporate social responsibility sponsored by Reciprocate member Unipart.

The conference opened with a welcome from Oxford City Council chief Bob Price, who introduced plans for an Oxford to Cambridge ‘corridor’ via Milton Keynes. This will consist of ambitious new rail and industrial developments described as “Britain’s Silicon Valley”, connecting up the regional science and technology hubs associated with the two leading universities. The project will require ‘place-making’ initiatives to build communities as well as physical infrastructure.

Kate and Jayne with the OCF standReciprocate host charity Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) had a stand in the conference’s exhibition space raising awareness of the hidden social problems in Oxfordshire – a seemingly wholly privileged and wealthy county that nonetheless has pockets of surprising deprivation. OCF’s Oxfordshire Uncovered report reveals more, and appeals to members of the community, such as Reciprocate businesses, to play their part in making it a better place. Thanks are due to Unipart for sponsoring the stand, and Dijon Designs for producing it free of charge.

The CSR session featured a talk from Unipart’s Deborah Astles, who has developed a workplace wellbeing initiative in the company to support employees with positive physical and mental health. Celine Gagnon from live crowdfunding organisation The Funding Network made the case for using one of their events for corporate philanthropy (including one in Oxford next week), and freelance entertainment publicist Imran Malik talked about the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

OCF’s Jayne Woodley closed the session by featuring some of the recent impact pledges by Reciprocate members:

  • Oxford Bus Company are offering free tickets to refugees and driving a mobile library round the city
  • Hunts are practising open and inclusive recruitment by employing ex-offenders
  • Ella Pickard of Organisation Unlimited is teaching ex-offenders to cook
  • Beard Construction have pledged to give away £125,000 to charity
  • Scottfraser have pledged to give all staff a day off every year for volunteering.

Further impact pledges will be published shortly – watch this space!

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