John Lewis Partnership Announces New Charity Partnerships To Celebrate Twenty Years Of Unique Partner Volunteering Scheme

To celebrate 20 successful years of the John Lewis Partnership’s unique volunteering programme – The Golden Jubilee Trust (GJT) – two charities have been chosen to work with the Partnership closely during 2020. 

Some 20 Partners from all parts of the Partnership will be seconded for up to six months to FareShare and SeeAbility, to help the charities grow. 

Partners will support food redistribution charity FareShare, to help improve their day-to-day operations to address food poverty. This builds on the support John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners gave last Christmas, giving over 1,500 people across the country, the opportunity to enjoy a community festive feast. Secondees at SeeAbility will help build, brand and market an employability toolkit for future employers which will help transform opportunities for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to secure meaningful work.

In 20 years, The Golden Jubilee Trust has given practical help to over 900 national and local charities across the UK by placing Partners on secondments at a charity of their choice for up to six months, while still on full Partnership pay and benefits. Over 980 Partners have participated during that time, equating to over 393,000 hours donated and representing a community value of over £25 million1. These secondments have also had a surprise bonus impact no-one could have foresaw, with even marriages and children born as a result. 

Heather See, Partner & Personnel Service Centre Adviser for the John Lewis Partnership, was one of the first Partners to take part in The Golden Jubilee Trust and was seconded at Hearing Dogs for the Deaf in 2002. Heather found there were benefits for both the charity and for herself: “I’ve always felt I wanted to help a charity local to me and this was the perfect opportunity to do that. It was also a great way to also learn something new, without having to give up my career in the Partnership. 

“I’d always been fascinated by the work of Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and my six month secondment involved working at their head office in their small fundraising team. I helped organise two events to celebrate the charity’s 20th anniversary – one for dog recipients and their families and the other for the general public. Watching the events unfold was nerve racking and exhilarating but incredibly rewarding as more than 5,000 people attended. The secondment taught me lots but the main thing was it made me think differently about trying new experiences and it gave me more confidence as a person and doing my day-to-day job.” 

Liz Hogan, Partner &  Golden Jubilee Trust Manager said: “Today’s announcement is an exciting milestone for The Golden Jubilee Trust. Not only are we proud to have supported over 900 charities during our 20 years but we’re delighted to honour this anniversary year by offering so many more Partner secondments to two important charities so that we can make a greater difference and help develop their vital work at a faster pace. These extra secondments also mean that by the end of the year over 1,000 Partners would have participated in The Golden Jubilee Trust since it was established.”  

Lindsay Boswell, CEO at FareShare comments: “When the power of big business turns its attention to delivering major social change then great things can happen. This is why FareShare are thrilled to be supported by the John Lewis Partnership as the expertise and focus of their Partners will allow us, as a national charity, to expand our impact right across the UK.”

Lisa Hopkins, CEO at SeeAbility said: “With only 6% of people with learning disabilities in paid work, we are all missing out on their talents both in the workplace and in society. At SeeAbility, we are determined to change this and with John Lewis and Waitrose Partners’ help, we’ll accelerate our programme to ensure people with learning disabilities and autism, many of whom are ready, willing and able to work, achieve this ambition in 2020.”

The Golden Jubilee Trust was set-up in 2000 to honour the 50th anniversary signing of the Partnership’s Second Trust Settlement, when the Partnership’s founder John Spedan Lewis transferred remaining shares and ultimate ownership into a Trust for the benefit of its employees, known as Partners. Providing community support and volunteering opportunities has always been an integral part of the Partnership and is written into its unique constitution which contains principles and rules for how the business should run and behave in relation to Partners, customers, suppliers, the environment and communities.

In addition to The Golden Jubilee Trust secondments, Partners can also volunteer throughout the year on short-term projects. In 2019, Partners based at the Partnership’s head office in London Victoria volunteered over 700 additional hours supporting local causes.

Customers can also help the Partnership decide which charities to fundraise for throughout the year, through the Community Matters scheme. Running for the past ten years in Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners, shops support local charities and organisations near to them. Customers nominate and vote using green tokens collected at the till points and this decides how donations are allocated. In 2018/19 £4.3 million was donated via Community Matters.

For more information on the support the John Lewis Partnership gives to local communities visit johnlewispartnership.co.uk/csr/transforming-lives

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