John Lewis Partnership announces new charity partnerships

To celebrate 20 years of The Golden Jubilee Trust volunteering programme run by the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), which owns and operates department store group John Lewis & Partners and supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners, two charities have been chosen to work with JLP closely during 2020.

Some 20 staff from all parts of JLP will be seconded for up to six months to FareShare and SeeAbility to help the charities develop. They will support food redistribution charity FareShare to help improve its day-to-day operations to address food poverty. This builds on the support JLP offered FareShare 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 aimed at transforming opportunities for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to secure meaningful work.

The Golden Jubilee Trust was set up in 2000 to honour the 50th anniversary signing of JLP’s Second Trust Settlement, when JLP 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 constitution which contains principles and rules for how the business should run and behave in relation to Partners, customers, suppliers, the environment and communities.

Over two decades, The Golden Jubilee Trust has given practical help to more than 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 pay and benefits. Over 980 staff have participated, equating to over 393,000 hours donated.

The Golden Jubilee Trust manager Liz Hogan said: “This 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 many more 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 of FareShare, commented: “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 JLP, as the expertise and focus of its Partners will allow us, as a national charity, to expand our impact right across the UK.”

Lisa Hopkins, ceo of SeeAbility, added: “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 JLP’s 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.”

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

Customers can also help JLP decide which charities to fundraise for throughout the year, through the Community Matters scheme which has been running for the past 10 years. Waitrose and John Lewis shops support local charities and organisations near to them; customers then nominate and vote using green tokens collected at the till point – and this decides how donations are allocated. In 2018/19 £4.3 million was donated via Community Matters.

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