The partnership between FirstGroup and Action for Children has now been valued at more than £3m in employee and customer fundraising, corporate donations and the commercial value of gift in kind advertising space on FirstGroup’s bus and rail networks. The partnership began in 2018, when Action for Children was chosen by thousands of employees across FirstGroup’s bus and rail businesses through a ballot. Since then, FirstGroup and its employees across the UK have supported Action for Children through fundraising, volunteering and pro bono support. The partnership has funded a number of initiatives including a national programme of mental health training to ensure that Action for Children staff can meet the growing needs of young people with mental health problems, keeping them safe from harm.
Since the programme launched, 577 training opportunities have been delivered. David Martin, Executive Chairman at FirstGroup said: “We are very proud of our partnership with Action for Children. FirstGroup colleagues have really got behind the partnership, finding many different ways to keep raising both funds and awareness to support vulnerable children and young people along their journey to better mental health.”
Melanie Armstrong, Chief Executive at Action for Children added: “The passion and commitment shown by FirstGroup colleagues in helping children and young people on their journey to better mental health is truly exceptional. We are thrilled to have reached this £3 million milestone and are incredibly grateful to FirstGroup for our partnership, which is providing essential support to children who desperately need our help.”
FirstGroup’s funds will also be invested in the Enrichment Fund which enables all children supported by Action for Children, and particularly those who might otherwise miss out, to access enriching activities and experiences such as day trips and activities for young people, activity packs, or family barbecue events, which the charity describes as basic pre-requisites of good mental health and wellbeing.
Action for Children protects and supports vulnerable children and young people by providing practical and emotional care and support, ensuring their voices are heard and campaigning to bring lasting improvements to their lives. With 512 services across the UK, in schools and online, in 2020/21 the charity helped 604,885 children, young people and families.