CAF is making significant progress in delivering positive social change for the benefit of employees, communities, local businesses and the environment.
Following the appointment of Kimberley Sweet-Roberts in the newly created role of Social Value Manager in May 2022, CAF has consolidated and materially developed its social value activities across the UK Rolling Stock and Rail Services businesses.
Relationships with key stakeholders in the UK and Northern Ireland have been established to create opportunities for community activities, educational experiences and engagement, targeted recruitment, environmental initiatives and support for local businesses – particularly SMEs and VCSEs.
Partnerships have been forged with voluntary community organisations and charitable projects where CAF continue to make meaningful impact through volunteering, fundraising, donating and sponsorship. Charities impacted include ‘Jesus Cares,’ whose operations provide practical support to families living in poverty and deprivation and ‘Cash for Kids,’ supporting children and young people affected by poverty, abuse, neglect, life-limiting illness and with additional needs.
Since Kimberley’s appointment in May 2022, CAF employees have spent a total of 54 working days supporting the operations of community critical charities, with a focus over Christmas in ensuring that families living in poverty had access to food and gifts over the festive period.
Following every interaction, beneficiaries complete a social impact measurement form which is used to evidence, refine and improve future initiatives, with procedures being put in place to track indirect impact. Charities have reported a combined 16,428 children and families who have been impacted as a direct result of CAF’s support.
Since October 2022 over £104,000 has been directly spent with social enterprises and community interest companies, including buying feminine hygiene products from ‘Hey Girls,’ who matched and donated the same amount that we purchased from them, to young UK females in need.
Engaging with Careers Wales, STEM Learning and Speakers for Schools, CAF is connecting with young people and raising awareness of STEM as a critical intervention to bridge the industry’s skills gap.
CAF has also increased the number of careers fairs attended, site visits, mentoring opportunities and work placements. Forming a partnership with Jobcentre Plus to promote the rail industry and attract new and diverse talent, CAF hosts employability skills sessions for young jobseekers through the Mentoring Circle initiative.
To enhance employability skills for unemployed individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) and Ukraine evacuees, CAF provides personal branding training, CV writing support, interview guidance and mock interview practical experience.
The introduction of the GreenPerk carbon management reporting platform has provided visibility of CAF’s business travel environmental impact and offset the carbon emissions of CAF travel, to minimise our environmental impact for essential journeys.
CAF subscribes to the Social Value Portal and uses the National TOMs Framework to measure, report and enhance the organisation’s social value. Our 2022 highlights include the delivery of £58m in social value and local economic value and 443 staff hours spent supporting charitable causes. CAF have invested more than 6,700 staff hours in mentoring programmes, upskilling apprentices and providing careers information, advice and guidance to students, career changers and unemployed.
CAF Social Value Manager Kimberley Sweet-Roberts comments, “This time last year, social value was a somewhat unfamiliar term, but it is very much a way of life for us today and our phenomenal progress is a reflection of the open mindset and commitment of our people and business culture. It’s funny how unconsciously, social matters tend to matter to us more in our personal lives than that of our professional livelihoods, whether it be fundraising and donating money to a good cause, changing ways we commute to work, swapping out fast fashion for more sustainable fashion brands…by collectively adopting what we deem as ‘small workplace practices’ we’ve quickly come to learn that big changes happen through ripple effect! Through our collaborative partnerships we will strive for continuous improvement in this planetary critical area.”
CAF is embarking on the next steps in its social value strategy including devising localised project-specific and national engagement delivery plans. New partnerships with charitable organisations are being forged in 2023 and these will be supported with further employee volunteering days. We are hoping for another record-breaking year in our Social Value contributions for 2023.
Photo credit: CAF