Corporate Social Responsibility

Playing an active role in the local community is hugely important to us at Brachers.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Playing an active role in the local community is hugely important to us at Brachers. We see it as our responsibility to have a positive impact on society.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a mechanism used by organisations to incorporate policies into their business model which address environmental and social concerns, and which have a positive impact on individuals, the local community and the environment.

Playing an active role in the local community is hugely important to us at Brachers. Our roots run deep in Kent; we are celebrating our 125th anniversary in 2020 and Brachers is proud to recognise the importance of giving back to the local community.

Download a copy of our Corporate Social Responsibility policy (PDF).

Our charity and community work

Every two years Brachers choose a local charity to support with donations of both time and money, with the aim of raising the profile of the charity. Over the past four years, Brachers’ staff have raised over £40,000 for Kent charities, including Macmillan Kent, Heart of Kent Hospice, Headway West Kent, Blackthorn Trust, Demelza House, as well as our 2019-2020 charity, Spadework.

We have also supported charity fun runs by providing refreshments, sponsored local sports teams and award schemes (for example, the Kent Press and Broadcast Awards 2019), attended local schools and career events supporting students, and donated gifts to disadvantaged children in care in the local area. Our partners also contribute to the Brachers Charitable Trust, which has contributed to over 100 charities since 1990.

Playing an active role in the local business community is essential to us and we recognise our role to help support economic growth in our region. We consider ourselves to be a valued member of local business community groups, committed to making a positive impact to business growth.

These include:

  • Founding Corporate Partner for Visit Kent since October 2016
  • Corporate Partner of Locate in Kent
  • Member of One Maidstone since January 2017
  • Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Patron since February 2017
  • Member of the East Kent Economic Development Group since it was established in 2015
  • Sponsor of the Kent Business Summit 2020
  • Sponsor of the ‘Kent Debate’ at Business Vision since 2017
  • Sponsor of the CLA Kent Debate since 2017
  • Sponsor of Farm Expo 2020

Brachers’ charity of the year 2019-2020: Spadework

Our 2019-2020 charity of the year is Spadework. Based in the local village of Offham, near West Malling, Spadework is a garden centre, farm shop and café that has been providing work-based training opportunities for adults with learning and other disabilities for 35 years.

Spadework is open to the public seven days a week. The main benefit of this is that personal contact is key to how the charity provides their service to their trainees as well as the local community. 

The trainees are involved in all aspects of Spadework – they produce the plants sold in the garden centre, the fruit and vegetables served in the café and sold in the farm shop, as well as helping to make cakes, jam and chutneys and serve customers in the café.

Spadework’s trainees also receive IT tuition to help them become computer literate and which also often helps to improve their hand/eye co-ordination and literacy and numeracy skills. Once fully trained, the trainees produce information that supports the business, including labels, plant information sheets and weather updates to help staff and trainees to plan the week’s work schedule.

Celebrating our 125th anniversary

As one of the activities to mark our 125th anniversary year in 2020, we are delighted to be sponsoring the Heart of Kent Hospice’s Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade.

This free public art installation is coming to Maidstone in the summer of 2020 and will see David McKee’s popular fictional children’s character Elmer brought to life in the form of 50 large sculptures, each featuring a distinct and unique design by a host of established and up-and-coming artists.

From mid-June to the end of August 2020, the 50 sculptures will guide families on a trail around Maidstone, and at the end of the summer all the sculptures will be auctioned to raise money for Heart of Kent Hospice.

In the run up to the unveiling of Brachers’ Elmer sculpture, our miniature stuffed toy Elmer has been making appearances at various events, networking sessions and even a Christmas party or two! Keep an eye on our social media channels to see updates and photos of Elmer’s latest adventures.

Charity campaigns

We are passionate about supporting our clients, employees and community in any way we can, and for this reason are proud supporters of the Dementia Friends campaign, championed by Mary Rimmer – a Senior Associate in Brachers’ Private Client team.

Dementia is an umbrella term describing a range of progressive neurological diseases of the brain, of which Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common, contributing to 60-70% of cases. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a disease of the elderly and it affects younger people too. There are over 100 types of dementia; each with its own progression rate and each person experiences dementia in their own unique way.  

Dementia Friends is a social action movement, launched in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2013, which sees individuals being trained by the Alzheimer’s Society to become a Dementia Friend Champion. Champions hold information sessions focusing on the personal impact of dementia, spreading awareness and creating Dementia Friends.

Mary first undertook the training to become a Dementia Friend Champion in January 2019 and regularly hosts Dementia Friends sessions for her colleagues, contacts and local community. She is part of the Tunbridge Wells Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) and the Building a Dementia Friendly Maidstone group, which encourage as many local people, professionals, carers, people with dementia and anyone with an interest in dementia, to work together in the aim to make the district Dementia Friendly. The groups meet regularly to discuss issues, share good practice and work towards agreed actions and priorities in order to improve the lives of people living with dementia locally.

Mary has recently been congratulated by the Alzheimer’s Society for hitting the 1k Dementia Friends milestone, having created 1,005 friends within a year.

What’s more, Brachers are pleased to have earned our ‘Working To Become a Dementia Friendly Kent Organisation’ badge and are proud that nearly 75% of staff have become Dementia Friends.

Dementia Friendly Kent Awards

We were pleased to be shortlisted as finalists in the Middle Sized Business category at the Dementia Friendly Kent Awards 2019, with Mary Rimmer nominated as a finalist in the Emma Kent Outstanding Contribution category.

Local sports team sponsorship

In 2019 we signed up to sponsor Maidstone Rugby Club and are delighted to be a partner for the 2019-20 season.

The 139-year-old club runs four senior men’s sides, as well as a successful youth and minis side. With a membership of 500, it is also one of the few clubs in the region to boast a social veteran’s side.

Robert Hayton of Maidstone Rugby said Brachers partnership would provide vital funds for the club’s future. “Maidstone Rugby is extremely grateful that Brachers has chosen to support high quality, community-based grass roots sport in Maidstone. We are always excited when we take on new partners and Brachers generosity means we can continue to invest in the present and future of the club. We aim to run an efficient organisation, and Brachers’ support will be key to the continuation of that.”

We are also sponsors of Mote Colts at Mote Cricket Club, which is committed to the development of young cricketers in Maidstone, coaching children aged between 6 and 15. The club encourages as many young players as possible to get involved with the game, working with local primary schools and community initiatives to introduce cricket to children who might not normally have contact with the sport.

Nick Aldrich of Mote Cricket Club said “Brachers’ support will help us purchase more cricket equipment so that our young superstars can learn and enjoy cricket without their parents’ personal financial circumstances being a potential challenge. Our mission is that we as a club will have enough bats, pads, helmets, balls and gloves so that every boy and girl can play. Brachers’ sponsorship will be key to this and we are all extremely grateful.”

Environment

As a firm we recognise our responsibility to take a sustainable approach in our day to day operations and minimise the impact of our business on the environment.

We have taken, and continue to take, steps to incorporate environmental good practice across all areas of the business, underpinned by our Environmental Policy. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Managing waste responsibly and reducing carbon emissions
  • Taking steps towards a paperless office
  • Encouraging remote working and increasing access to telephone/ video conferencing to minimise business travel
  • As an example, in 2019 we recycled 9105 tonnes of waste, 100% of our cardboard was recycled and 100% of our general waste avoided landfill, being used as refuse-derived fuel through the energy-from-waste process.