07801 250 668secretary@uckfieldchamber.co.uk

I was asked by Ian Noble of Uckfield Chamber to speak to Chamber members about Corporate Social Responsibility and why it is important to us. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a broad term that is used to describe a company’s efforts to improve society in some way.

Dawson Hart have been involved with the local community for many years and have sponsored various events including Uckfield Festival, Bonfire and Carnival society, Christmas late night shopping. Bridge Art Fair and we also sponsored the retailer of the Year Award at Uckfield Business awards, to name but a few.

Our approach to CSR is far ranging from our free legal advice provided when our Solicitors attend the fortnightly Citizens Advice Bureau sessions in Uckfield and Hastings to our opening our doors to give free legal advice to the community on the first Saturday of every month. We know these sessions are of great help to people in our community and they were so popular with people travelling from outside the town to meet with us, that we had to make it by appointment only so we could get to see everyone.

We also participate in a number of Will schemes offering to prepare wills for people (without charge) whilst ensuring we raise money for a nominated charity like Will Aid and St Wilfrid’s.
Many of our Directors also give up their time to other causes. Mahie Abey is on the committee at Uckfield Chamber. Jenny Mayhew is on the committee of the friends of Uckfield Hospital and Jacqueline Hardaway has recently been appointed as the President of the Sussex Law Society. All these additional roles help many people in our community.

In addition, five years ago, Dawson Hart decided to formalise our partnership with our chosen charities by naming one charity each year to fundraise for. This didn’t come about because of a policy that we had written. It was far more than that.

During 2014 Dawson Hart acted for the family of Luke Bland who was only 20 years old when he was tragically killed in a road traffic accident in Uckfield in 2009. Luke was part of the Uckfield Performance ensemble (UPE). Luke was passionate about music and a talented performer. The marching band was very important to him and his family, and through the band Luke gave a lot back to the community. We wanted to do the same.

Since supporting UPE our charities have been Rockinghorse, Chestnut Tree and St Wilfrid’s Hospices, Children’s Respite Trust and this year we are raising money for Hospice in the Weald.

Some of our fundraising events have included our annual Good Friday Easter Egg hunt and Barn Dances, marathons, sky dives, 5 hour swoovethans, moonwalks, and wolf runs. This is not an exhaustive list but gives a flavour of what we do to raise money, as well as baking and eating lots of cake!

The opportunities for team building have been fantastic – with people pulling together to put on an event, teams having the opportunity to get together outside of the work environment, and a real sense of achievement and pride across the firm at what we have achieved.

We were absolutely delighted to be recognised for what we do when we won the Contribution to the Community Award (sponsored by Uckfield Matters) at the Uckfield Business awards last November. I hope that other businesses will think about their own CSR and what they can offer the community in which they live.

For more information please contact Laura Manton at Dawson Hart on 01825 762281.