‘We love to see small and medium-sized businesses using their skills through volunteering’

Posted on the 3rd June 2021

At Heart of the City we love to see small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) using their skills to support the local community. One of our members, Red Ant, does this really well through employer supported volunteering (ESV).

The retail technology company’s volunteer committee, PhilAnthropy, has committed to making sure everyone has the time and resources they need to work towards a collective goal; to contribute to the local community and enhance workplace wellbeing.

The community side of PhilAnthropy focuses on ESV, and in 2021, Red Ant’s contribution to its local community earned Red Ant a place as a finalist for the Heart of the City award at the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards.

Red Ant found that its young, active workforce was really keen to support the local community in Southwark, London. To make sure its ESV offering is as successful as possible, Red Ant works with Better Bankside to establish initiatives that link the team’s skills to the needs of the community. This is important to Red Ant as it encourages employees to think about where their skills would be best used.


Blackfriars Settlement Valentines Day tea

Sharing your expertise

For people who want to share their tech expertise, there’s the option to volunteer at Blackfriars Settlement to help older people feel more confident using the internet. Others can use their presentation skills to take part in work experience days at local schools, encouraging young women to focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. There are lots of people who enjoy socialising, so they use their volunteering time at Lucy Brown House (sheltered accommodation) at a monthly games evening.

Lucy Brown House games night

Lucy Brown House games night

How we have supported the community

Red Ant believes that the area you’re based in becomes part of who the business is, so how you support your local community contributes to your brand. Its volunteering opportunities have really helped the community.

22 volunteers at Blackfriars Settlement have supported over 1,000 people in London to:

  • explore tech job opportunities
  • enhance their internet skills
  • improve their wellbeing through social connections.

Red Ant has seen an improvement through ESV. An employee survey showed 100% volunteering satisfaction rate and 89% agreed that volunteering opportunities made them feel proud to work at Red Ant. Charitable activity now plays a key role in recruitment at Red Ant.

Demonstrating this commitment has meant Red Ant has improved its talent selection and diversity across teams, as well as keeping people working there for longer. ESV isn’t going anywhere at Red Ant!

Grace Shotbolt

Communications manager, Heart of the City

Heart of the City supports SMEs to be a force for good. Their foundation programme helps SMEs look at how their business can support their local community, reduce their environmental impact, build a more diverse workforce and look after their employees’ wellbeing.

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