Charity Begins at Home(working)

It would have been easy for the Fiera Real Estate (“FRE”) charity committee to have taken 2021 off, with COVID-19 being too much of an impediment to what we would normally have done. However, the opposite has proven to be true with inequality and the needs of others translating to acts of tremendous generosity throughout Fiera and to our wider colleagues, contacts, friends and family.

We are already pleased to be able to say that 2021 looks to be our best year yet – smashing our target and raising almost £50,000 towards good causes!

In April, we completed our largest event to date with 200 people forming 20 teams to compete over a weekend to cover the most distance – whether by walking, running or cycling. Participants were free complete their distance individually or in COVID limited groups. The event was meant to have fewer teams, but demand from our friends throughout the industry, whether our property companies, investors, agents and advisors, meant that we added more teams. Although the target distance was 100km per team Opus North covered a combined 1600 km on their bikes alone, whilst 17 people covered marathon or ultra-marathon distances. In total over 9,000 km were covered.

Our nominated charity was Duty to Care, a charity formed during the pandemic to help support those working in the NHS who have themselves needed support, and we raised over £22,000.

The property industry charity, Landaid, whose mission is to end youth homelessness in the UK, is our cornerstone charity and we are proud to have supported them again during 2021.

Many children of FRE colleagues were disappointed to find out that they would be sleeping outside as part of Landaid’s Sleepout in March while other colleagues were equally disappointed to be put forward for the Landaid 10km with a forced run around Hyde Park!

But charity is not a purely altruistic act for us. As Bob Hope said: “If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.” And we believe it is important to have colleagues who want to give something back. So how have we achieved this? Some examples include:

  1. FRE Charity committee. Formally set up in 2019 to provide direction and lead;
  2. Buy in at board level with an approved budget and a clear mandate;
  3. Focus on cornerstone and annual nominated charity partner;
  4. Ease of participation. FRE has signed up to a charity platform that allows salary to be paid gross to a charity account;
  5. FRE / chief executive has committed to contribute to any sponsored activity undertaken by employees – for whatever charity matters to them;
  6. Collaboration and team building. Many at FRE are already looking forward to our first tree planting corporate day out in cold November!

In a busy life it would be easy to overlook charity. However, if there is one lesson we have learnt during 2021 it is to never underestimate the generosity of those that we work with.