Giving Tuesday 2020

01 December 2020

As part of Giving Tuesday 2020, we are celebrating the charitable efforts of our staff across the UK during this year. Even with the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, our people have continued to show their commitment to the charities they chose to support, coming up with creative ways to raise money, even without being able to be physically together for much of the time.

In Scotland, employees embarked on an eclectic mix of fundraising activities in aid of several local charities. Through bake sales, abseiling challenges and other activities, Edinburgh staff have raised more than £26,000 for Harmeny Education Trust (HET) which helps children and young people aged 5-14 overcome enormous challenges in order to rebuild their lives.

“Leonardo’s dedication to our partnership has been truly astounding” says Neil Squires, Chief Executive of Harmeny. “From fundraising to volunteering, they have been real champions for our children and staff. With their support we continue towards our goal of raising the £1.95m needed to build a new Learning Hub for both the children at Harmeny and more young people across Edinburgh who have had some of the hardest starts in life.

“Right from the start Leonardo staff have gone the extra mile for our children to help them reach their full potential. A small team of STEM ambassadors from Leonardo have delivered fortnightly activities to give the children a fun introduction to the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Their skills-based educational activities have engaged the children and inspired a love of learning. A visit to their facilities at Crewe Toll in February was a huge highlight. Hi-tech work was brought alive with sweets, infrared tattoos, magic balloons and some serious rally car design work.”

Meanwhile, Stuart Richardson completed the Two Bridges Six Provinces Charity Cycle, raising £300 for MND Scotland and Tony Innes’s 80s Virtual Tea Party to commemorate Battle of Britain generated £365 in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund. A further £6,516 was raised for PANS Pandas by Pauline Caldwell and colleagues doing various Kiltwalks in Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh.

Pre Covid-19 and throughout 2020, staff from our Yeovil site, led by Leonardo Helicopters apprentices and graduates maintained their fundraising momentum for the Yeovil District Hospital’s Breast Cancer Unit Appeal, thanks to digital bake-offs, quizzes and production of a cookbook, which collectively helped raise over £20,000.

Meanwhile, money raised previously in the South West for Mind in Somerset has been invaluable during the pandemic, which has seen an increased need among young people who have been isolated from their normal coping mechanisms and support groups. The charity says: “Leonardo’s donation has been of incredible help for our youth matters project, which is of more importance now than ever.”

Yeovil Opportunity Group has put funds provided by Leonardo towards staff costs, since the charity provides a minimum ratio of one keyworker to three children, sometimes rising to one-to-one. “The funding also enables to us provide emotional support to families and help them understand some of the bureaucratic processes they have to deal with on a daily basis,” explains the charity

In Luton, fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society has been put to immediate use throughout the pandemic. Gary Sutcliffe, from the Alzheimer’s Society, says the charity is “truly grateful” to partner with Leonardo UK, with money funding various activities for people living with dementia, including welfare calls, ‘Companion Callers’ and ‘Virtual Singing for the Brain’ sessions.

“For many of us, lockdown this is a challenging, frustrating time, but for people affected by dementia, it’s disastrous. The first lockdown devastated families up and down the country. We heard how symptoms accelerated, affecting day-to-day skills and communication, and how isolation led to stress, anxiety, and depression for people with dementia and their carers alike. Leonardo’s support really is the difference between hope and despair,” he explains.

Elsewhere, over 300 employees from across our UK sites signed up to Leonardo’s World in a Week challenge in support of the company’s UK armed forces charity, the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team (AFPST). Collectively, they cycled, ran, swam and walked over 34,000km in seven days!

Aside from fundraising, colleagues across the country have been working in their local communities to contribute to the wider support given to the UK’s key workers during the pandemic. This included making PPE for NHS employees, knitting toys for the children of key workers and 3D printing protective visors for hospital staff.