5 ways corporate supporters can work with Look Ahead

Published: 31st May 2023
Here at Look Ahead, we celebrate corporate partnerships, supporters and volunteers that improve our customers' lives. If you or your organisation would like to get involved but aren't sure how, here are five ideas just for you.

Look Ahead customers taking part in an art therapy workshop with Look Ahead partners Accumulate.

In the last 50 years, Look Ahead has built a reputation as a trusted housing association and care provider, now supporting customers across London and South East England. We work with people with different needs, ranging from mental health, to homelessness and complex needs, and learning disability, as well as young people and care leavers, to take the next steps in their lives and into greater independence.

As an active organisation running a variety of services, Look Ahead have established an active programme with corporate supporters who want to work with us to help improve our customers’ lives.

Our partners and supporters come from the private, public, and voluntary sectors, but they all have one thing in common, they want to work with a charitable organisation that helps people at a grassroots level in different ways.

But don’t take our word for it, here is what Paul Cahalan, Head of Communications at chapmanbdsp who chose Look Ahead as their charity of the year says about working with us:

“Working with Look Ahead has allowed our staff to feel like their efforts have an impact where it’s really needed. With larger charities, it can sometimes feel like your efforts are not as clearly rewarded, but with Look Ahead we are treated as real partners. As well as our own charity of the year activities, we’ve been able to get involved with volunteering, the customer celebration day and other team challenges. Our experts in-house are also helping the charity by looking at psychologically informed design of new services. As well as raising money, we have been able to share our engineering expertise, allowing both us and Look Ahead to gain more from the partnership.”

If you’re not sure about how to get involved, here are a few ideas:

1. Corporate volunteering

Corporate volunteering is a great way to build team spirit and make a difference to the lives of our customers. You and your colleagues could enjoy the great outdoors by gardening at one of our services, just like volunteers from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. They did a fantastic job of tidying the gardens at five of our homelessness and mental health services. The gardens are now ready for our customers to plant their own fruit and vegetables this summer.

If gardening isn’t for you, why not decorate instead? Volunteers from BDA Partners gave our Cannon Street and Tower Hamlets Crisis House Services a new coat of paint, leaving them looking modern and welcoming for our customers.

2. Fundraising

You could arrange fundraising activities and events too. Our partners from chapmanbdsp have challenged themselves a few times now! Most recently several volunteers, including the company’s Board Director Lucy Scott took on the London Homeless Collective’s London Homeless Walk for Look Ahead. Before that, their colleagues walked the 100km Thames Path Challenge and raised a fantastic £1745.

3. Bursaries and grants

Some of Look Ahead’s supporters – like LandAid – the grant funder for the construction industry and, the property development company SEGRO – have supported our customer activities with grants and bursaries. The pair have provided grants for renovation projects at two Look Ahead properties for care leavers and young people in West London. The works have begun, and the two sites are due to undergo extensions, loft conversions for new customer rooms and more.

Both partners have also given customers from our young people and care leavers services bursaries to pursue personal development opportunities. One bursary supported groups of customers to attend a two-day snowboarding course. An experience they’d all hoped for. Since then, some of the customers have continued into more advanced courses and are looking to train as instructors in the future. Another customer used a bursary to take a step towards their dream job at Kew Gardens, by buying gardening and landscaping tools for a horticulture course and a third used the grant to help them with university moving costs.

4. Donations

Look Ahead is always happy to receive donations, from food parcels to toiletries and clothing for customers, as well as Secret Santa gifts. Your company or organisation can make donations as occasionally or as regularly as you like. For example, our partners at the London anti-hunger and anti-food waste charity the Felix Project have started a social pantry project for customers at one of our east London mental health services. Customers can collect food parcels and ready prepared meals every Thursday, and even enjoy volunteering opportunities with the project too as an added benefit.

5. Sponsoring Activities

Our corporate partners and supporters often generously sponsor activities for our customers too. John Lewis donated from their Community Matters Pot to provide our customers with fun, meaningful activities from therapeutic seaside trips to theme park outings and an Eid celebration.

Having seen how many ways your organisation or company can work together with Look Ahead, the next thing to do is contact our fundraising manager for more information and to enquire how you can make a difference.