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The Power of Partnerships: helping individuals make a difference in their communities

Holly Firmin, Senior Community Partnerships Manager GB | Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

4 min read Partner content

I’m always emphasising the incredible power of individuals in making a difference in their communities and the important impact that every single volunteer’s contribution can have. However, I believe we can truly shift the dial when we work together.

This is one of the cornerstones on which Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP)’s volunteering programme is built on – the power of partnerships.

Last year, our colleagues and customers came together to give back to local initiatives that are close to their hearts and that matter to the local community. 2021 saw momentous efforts from all of the team here, and our colleagues clocked up 6,000 volunteering hours between them, across 90+ events and initiatives! From litter picks and conservation work, to working with young people and building bird hides, last year saw our colleagues get stuck in wherever they could. But none of this would’ve been possible without our brilliant charity partners.

This week, we launched our volunteering programme for 2022, and it’s set to be the biggest year yet, with plans to reach 7,000 volunteering hours combined across all colleagues in Great Britain. As the programme gets underway, I’ve been reflecting on the incredible difference collaboration with different organisations and charities has made so far, and how we can expand on and form even more partnerships that will help our local communities.

A shared purpose

The basis for a successful partnership is, of course, a shared purpose that brings us together.

At CCEP, one of our key ambitions is to protect our natural environment. This has seen us partner with the Rivers Trust; a fantastic organisation who want to see all our rivers and waterways thrive. A couple of weeks ago, as part of a ‘Replenish’ project funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation, we kicked off our volunteering programme for 2022 with a huge team litter pick at the Chamber Mead Wetland the Trust are creating in Surrey. It was a fantastic day that allows us to work on a cause that’s hugely important to us all – ensuring that all packaging, including ours, is collected and recycled, and doesn’t end up in places it shouldn’t.

We have a shared ethos with a number of organisations, not only when it comes to protecting the environment, but also from a broader societal perspective. A brilliant example of this is our partnership with UK Youth. We’ve been collaborating with the charity for a number of years to run Reach Up, our employability programme that helps empower young people with the skills, confidence and experience to be workplace ready, irrespective of background.

Directing support

Partnerships also play a vital role in making sure that our volunteering efforts and resources are going where they can make the most difference. By working with those closest to the issues impacting our local communities, we can gain a real insight into the challenges they’re facing and ensure that our support is having the maximum impact.

At the end of last year, for example, we partnered with Community Shop Group to help them open their latest store in Knottingley, a stone’s throw from our site in Wakefield, which offers deeply discounted food to those in the community most at risk of food poverty.

Similarly, our partnerships with local organisations, such as Keep Scotland Beautiful and Hubbub’s Treasure Your River Campaign, have provided us with unique local insights into the areas where our conservation work is most beneficial. We continue to work with them on projects across the UK, particularly in areas close to our manufacturing sites where we know managing our environmental impact is important.

Another way we’ve been able to reach hyper-local community causes is through working with Neighbourly – a fantastic platform which helps connect businesses with local good causes. Our own outreach plus support from Neighbourly means we’ve partnered with more than 150 local charities and community groups.

I’m also proud to say that the business invested over £1.2million in Great Britain into charitable initiatives over the course of 2021, including those nominated by colleagues at sites through our Support My Cause initiative.

This only scratches the surface of our work and there are so many initiatives – big and small – that our people are championing. I’m proud of what our teams achieved last year and I’m looking forward to seeing what our volunteering programme has in store in the coming months and weeks.

Over the years, I believe partnerships have truly been the secret ingredient to the success of our volunteering scheme, and I’m always interested in hearing more about the valuable work local charities are doing.

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Read the most recent article written by Holly Firmin, Senior Community Partnerships Manager GB - Youth Employment Week: helping young people build skills for the future

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Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

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