London 2012: Big businesses help small charities in Legacy for London project

08:46 09 May 2012

Access Sport’s BMX trainer, Simon Hall, jumps over the Pilotlight mentoring team – Carola Wolf, BP programme manager; David Benjamin, BT Mobile chief executive; and David Pelham, Lloyds TSB client services director. Picture: Andre Camara

Access Sport’s BMX trainer, Simon Hall, jumps over the Pilotlight mentoring team – Carola Wolf, BP programme manager; David Benjamin, BT Mobile chief executive; and David Pelham, Lloyds TSB client services director. Picture: Andre Camara

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Some of the UK’s best known companies have been helping small charities and social enterprises in the Olympic host boroughs.

Teams from Olympic sponsors adidas, BP, BT, Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance and Deloitte have been taking part in the Legacy for London project over the last two years.

Nine charities in the host boroughs have been mentored by teams of senior executives and received free business coaching, enabling them to develop their services and support more people.

The project was run by Pilotlight, a charity which brokers free business coaching to small charities, and won the support of the London 2012 Inspire Programme.

Among the charities involved was Aanchal Women’s Aid in Newham, which supports Asian women and children who are survivors of domestic abuse. Through the scheme it has increased the number of people it is able to help by nearly 60 per cent.

Sudarshan Bhuhi, the charity’s CEO, said: “Working with Pilotlight gave us a new perspective. It helped us achieve financial clarity and develop a fundraising strategy with clear financial planning.”

Pilotlight’s chief executive Fiona Halton was inspired to create the project by the Olympic motto - faster, higher, stronger.

She said: “We all know that charities are facing a tough time at the moment, with many badly affected by the cuts and recession trying to expand their services because of growing need.

“We saw the chance to bring together ambitious charity directors, who understand the problems local people face, with the Olympic partners and their outstanding business talent.

“We wanted the charities in the Olympic boroughs to grow faster, higher, stronger thanks to the Olympics.”

Other charities involved in the project were Access Sport in Hackney; Alcohol Concern Tower Hamlets, Age UK Waltham Forest, Home-Start Newham, Kinetika Art Links International in Tower Hamlets, New Choices for Youth in Newham, Step Forward Tower Hamlets and StreetGames UK, which is based in Lambeth but works on projects in the East End.

Mike Sharrock, partnership director for BP London 2012, said: “This has been an amazing project and the BP people who volunteered have learned so much, as well as being able to pass on their own business skills in a very different environment to charities like HomeStart, Access Sport and Alcohol Concern, where they’re leaving a real legacy.

“What made this project even more special was the response from other London 2012 partners who agreed to join in. It is a wonderful example of the inspirational power of the games.”

Seb Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), said: “Thanks to this Olympic-inspired project, our business sponsors have rallied together to create this lasting legacy; allowing some of their talented directors to mentor these visionary charities to help people at the sharp end of life.”

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