A partnership between FirstGroup and Action for Children is now worth more than £3m.
The large amount came from employee and customer fundraising, corporate donations, and the commercial value of gift-in-kind advertising space on FirstGroup’s bus and rail networks.
The partnership came about through a ballot in 2018 when thousands of employees across FirstGroup’s bus and rail businesses voted for Action for Children as their charity of choice. Since then, FirstGroup and its employees across the UK have supported it by fundraising, volunteering, and providing pro bono support.
The aim of Action for Children is to protect and support vulnerable children and young people. It provides them with practical and emotional care and support, makes sure their voices are heard, and campaigns to bring lasting improvements to their lives.
Action for Children has 512 services in schools and online across the UK; in 2020/21 it helped 604,885 children, young people, and families.
The charity has funded several initiatives. An important one is a national programme of Mental Health Training to ensure that the charity’s staff can meet the growing needs of young people with mental health problems, keeping them safe from harm. Since the programme launched, 577 training opportunities have been delivered.
FirstGroup’s Funds will also be invested in the Enrichment Fund. That enables all children who are supported by Action for Children, particularly those who might otherwise miss out, to access activities and experiences that enrich their lives, which are the basic pre-requisites for good mental health and wellbeing.
Typical examples are day trips and activities for young people, activity packs, and family barbecue events.
David Martin, Executive Chairman at FirstGroup said “We are very proud of our partnership with Action for Children. FirstGroup colleagues have really got behind the partnership, finding many different ways to keep raising both funds and awareness to support vulnerable children and young people along their journey to better mental health.”
Melanie Armstrong, Chief Executive at Action for Children said “The passion and commitment shown by FirstGroup colleagues in helping children and young people on their journey to better mental health is truly exceptional. We are thrilled to have reached this £3 million milestone and are incredibly grateful to FirstGroup for our partnership, which is providing essential support to children who desperately need our help.”