Head of Marketing Georgina Jeffries explains Voisin and Volaw’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy and why we feel it is such an important aspect of our businesses.

‘CSR’ may sound like a trendy acronym but to us it means getting involved in our local community and supporting projects that reflect our core values.

Across the world, corporate social responsibility is evolving into a core business concern. At Voisin and Volaw we understand that CSR isn’t just about giving money to charities, it’s about our whole business model and the effect it has socially and environmentally. It’s also about our staff; how we include them and the opportunities we present them with. We encourage staff to participate in sporting, community and charitable fund-raising, whether it be our ongoing support for Mont à l’Abbé School, our awareness campaigns for CLIC Sargent and the Jersey Air Training Corps, our cake sale for Children in Need, or our sponsorship of our staff on the London to Brighton bicycle ride, amongst others.

Each year we invite staff to choose their own charity to support. We usually choose to help a lesser-known charity in Jersey, such as CLIC Sargent, who support children and young people with cancer. Cake sales, dress down days and auctions have raised funds for the charity but we have also contributed in other ways. We instructed our PR agency to help raise the profile of the charity so that they could help more families. Through press releases and interviews the charity received both print and online news coverage. This is just one example of how CSR can have benefits beyond simple cash donations.

Another project of which we are particularly proud is our sponsorship of Mont à l’Abbé School. We have already funded their sensory room and an outdoor play area. Staff have also given up their time to organise competitions, get involved in classes and sit on the PTA committee to help with events. Several groups of staff were given time away from work to help the school plant their sensory garden. It is vitally important to supply children with learning disabilities with stimulus for all the senses. The garden will mean that the children can benefit from learning outside as well as in the classroom.

We have invited Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin to take several cookery classes in which the children participated and made all sorts of delicious treats. Shaun really enjoys his association with the school, and despite it being one of the busiest times of the year for his restaurant, has agreed to give another class before Christmas to spread festive cheer to the children.

Volaw’s Associate Director Keith Ponter plays lead guitar in local band KJB, who have played for the school on numerous occasions. On 16 November 2010 the band recorded a Christmas song with the schoolchildren that was written by Keith Ponter. Their teachers are extermely grateful that the children are asked to participate in an activity that they really enjoy as it greatly assists with their learning and development.

Voisin and Volaw staff are themselves looking forward to the visit of the school choir shortly before Christmas, when the children will be regailing us with their favourite carols. Voisin and Volaw staff also helped by collecting tokens from the Jersey Evening Post newspaper in their Cash for Schools initiative: Mont à l’Abbé School won first prize of £5,000, thanks in part to the efforts of our staff.

Even some of our commercial activities can tie in with helping the community: Voisin’s Wills and Probate team have been out on the road during the summer of 2010, holding Wills clinics at Durrell and the Lifeboat station at St Catherine’s, and helping the Air Cadets raise their profile by encouraging people to leave them a legacy in their Wills. Voisin will also help financially by donating 25% of profits from any instructions the team receives to the relevant charity.

Our Litigation, Wills and Probate and Property teams have also given their time during our free Legal Clinics where members of the public were able to drop in for free advice on any problem to help them decide if the matter was worth pursuing. Our Property team have made regular appearances at local charitable events, which they support by advertising the events and producing leaflets to raise awareness for the relevant charities.

We believe that the global reach and client base of Voisin and Volaw is only made possible because of our commitment to both our employees and the local Jersey community. Our CSR strategy reflects not only these commitments, but also our identity and our values that are central to every aspect of our work.

For further information about our sponsorship and CSR activities, please contact our Head of Marketing, Georgina Jeffries (georginajeffries@voisinlaw.com).