During this year, I have had partners call to ask me how I was. I have had contributors share their love and regards, have been sent small gifts, words of encouragement and even told from our partnership community to take some time off and step away from my “desk”.
This year has been different for everyone, this year has been a struggle to say the least. But the unique thing this year has brought, is bringing us closer together as a partnership community. In previous years, it has been important to us to build relationships with you, our partners, that are based on mutual trust, understanding, and most importantly human connection. We would always ask questions like: How are you? How are things? What exciting holidays have you planned? But this year, it has created opportunities to get to know each other even more, learn about your family and home life, welcome exciting moments with you such as new births, home purchases, relationships and engagements.
As I sit at home and look at my laptop at a time, I was supposed to be hosting a big in-person event with lots of hugs, good food and drink, dedicated to our partners, I’m greeted with 40 different smiling faces that represents the work we have done over the past 3 years. It represents the support provided and the dedication to the remarkable partners we work with. This year has been tough, but together we all got through it and I feel so proud to work with everyone.
This year, despite its difficulty, we’re grateful. Grateful for everyone who joined our celebration, and grateful for two amazing guest speakers: Tony Simpson, Senior Partner at Savannah Group and in your capacity as Board Director at Special Olympics Great Britain and Trustee for the Black Cultural Archives and Joseph Groves, DFF ambassador. During both of them speaking, each participant was nodding their head in agreeance, comments were flooding in of support and these two speakers brought us even closer together. They highlighted the support partners could offer, they introduced us further to Diversity and Inclusion, they encouraged others to get involved and they left the audience wanting to learn more about their fantastic stories.
The Partner Appreciation evening ended with the winners of our Above and Beyond Awards. The awards at Drive Forward were created to acknowledge our partners who have gone above and beyond to support the young people working with us. This year, was not only a substantial year for DFF to build a stronger community, but it also created an environment for generosity, love and care of certain partners to put in that bit extra.
The partners put forward were Lloyds Banking Group who have done a fantastic job this year with creative and innovated ideas to raise funds, such as: a music video, team 2000 mile walk/run challenge and my personal favourite- head shaving. In total, Lloyds Fraud and Auth team have raised just over 10k with match funding.
Superdrug have supported the youngest people with helping roughly 19 of them. Throughout this year, there was no one young person who needed help that they turned away. Their generosity was topped off with the last final cherry on the cake, to showcase their support and love was a staff member, Caroline King who for her birthday asked for a donation to be made to us- rather than gifts to her. It’s so much more than the little things- it’s the big changes they are doing to support us.
The third partner to be put forward for the award was Tideway, where this year, they have raised roughly 13k for our charity, sponsoring a total of 3 programmes. With their generous support, in total they will be helping roughly 100 young people in the next year! Not only this, their team have acted as a place to access support and guidance to help us adapt and grow in the corporate world with advice, support and ideas.
The efforts made from these 3 strategic partners of DFF made it impossible for us to choose who deserves to win the award. This year has been unique, this year has been tough and the 3 partners who have been mentioned are all equally deserving. Therefore, we were very excited to award all three of them with the Drive Forward Above & Beyond Award 2020!