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Rallying call for Big Society Businesses 25.01.11

A rallying call has been issued to businesses across the borough to become part of the Big Society.

The call was made at a special event at the House of Lords where more than 50 representatives from local companies, charities, the council and the police met to network and to discuss how to make 'Big Society Business' a driving force for the prosperity of the borough.

Among the speakers was Adam Knuckey, from Mentoring and Peer Support Sutton (MAPS), who spelled out how businesses could play a major role by becoming mentors, trustees and donors for local charities and voluntary organisations.

"For example, allowing staff to leave work an hour early so they can become mentors can make an enormous difference. And employers who allow their staff to volunteer have a much more motivated workforce," he said.

Cllr Jayne McCoy, Sutton Council's Executive Member for Planning, Economic Development and Housing, echoed the call, saying the Big Society was about "recognising, fostering and empowering communities" – with businesses having a vital part to play.

"Businesses can provide opportunities for projects to grow, support existing projects through funding or practical interventions; or they can become their own Big Society community and undertake work directly for and on behalf of others."

She said there were major benefits for companies who got involved, including healthier, more loyal and better skilled employees.

"My personal interpretation of Big Society Business is that we should no longer be providing our disenfranchised colleagues with a hand out – instead we need to be offering them a leg up!," she added

The other speakers at the event, hosted by Sutton councillor Lord Tope, were Paul Cawthorne, from the Sutton Chamber of Commerce, and Jan Koene, from Sutton College of Learning for Adults (Scola).

Organisations represented included Sutton police, Crown Agents, Wilkinsons, Business Link, Reed Business Information, Eco-Actif and Schroder Investment Management.

For more information about getting involved, contact Many Cherrington, Sutton Council's Head of Business Development & Regulation, at

Last updated: Monday, 14 February 2011

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