Page 3: Local communities
Whitbread has long been involved with the local communities in which it operates and is recognised as one of the corporate leaders in this field. Whitbread sees this commitment as being a better way of carrying out business and as a better way of making an important contribution to a thriving community. Whitbread regards the large sums of money spent on community activities as a genuine investment in the future of the business. Whitbread’s Community Investment Programme (CIP) is carefully thought out and is based on a number of key objectives. These are:
- To improve the economic health of local communities in order that Whitbread businesses enjoy enhanced trading over the longer term;
- To enhance Whitbread’s image as a responsible and enlightened company with staff, media, shareholders, consumers, opinion formers and government;
- To provide personal development and motivational opportunities for Whitbread staff;
- To act as an exemplar of good CIP practice in order that other organisations pursue CIP policies which are likely to improve the general trading environment.
In order to make the strategy work, it has to have the support of the senior decision makers within an organisation. With this in mind, Whitbread has developed a “Seeing is Believing” programme for Senior Managers. Under this scheme all Senior Managers spend one day visiting community projects, which enables them to champion, encourage and help establish the credibility of the community programme. By creating the commitment necessary to this strategic initiative it then becomes possible to institute this commitment at all levels within the organisation.
Whitbread was amongst the earliest U.K. companies to establish a dedicated community programme in 1981. Reporting directly to the Chief Executive, the programme has a national strategy but is operated through a locally based structure, reflecting the nature of its’ various businesses. Whitbread’s Community Investment Programme utilises all of the different types of resources within the company, people, money, materials and equipment. An example of this is the Luton Foyer project, which is a hostel and training centre for young homeless people. It has received financial support, furniture for 49 bedrooms, training facilities, office equipment, volunteer advice and offers of job opportunities.