With a record number of companies taking part – over 460 organisations registered – The Lord Mayor’s Appeal’s City Giving Day 2020 was a resounding success, despite looking very different to usual. With the majority of activities taking place online, it offered the opportunity to meet and work with employees and organisations no matter where they were.
City Giving Day, now in its seventh year, is an annual event where companies in the City of London and beyond unite to celebrate and promote the best of volunteering and philanthropy in the City. Companies showcase their fantastic charitable and community work and, in the process, highlight their collective value to society. It raises money for charities, including those supported by The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, Place2Be, OnSide Youth Zones, Samaritans and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
As is tradition, the day began when The Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor William Russell opened the London Stock Exchange – this year virtually. The Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress together with the Sheriffs and some of the Alderment spent the day participating in both online and offline activities, with the Lord Mayor alone visiting 12 events. The annual Treasure Hunt saw more than 130 people taking part – impressive for any year! In the evening wits were pitted in the Quiz, with CGI BFM Admirals coming first this year, answering the tie break question to take the top spot from two other teams. For the first time the City Walk was virtual, with City of London Guide Andy Catto telling viewers facts and stories about the streets they walk so often.
Tour de City is always a highlight, and this year was no different. Third Space kindly offered the use of socially distanced and sanitised bikes in their City (Mark Lane) gym. We had 16 teams join in, racking up the pedal power.
Music in Offices have put together a virtual performance of Supertramp’s hit “Give A Little Bit” which was debuted in the morning, and included a special saxophone solo by John Helliwell of the band. Of course, the Lord Mayor got involved. The musical flavour then continued as the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress joined in the launch of EY’s special City Giving Day radio show.
Sustainability was also a key theme, and the Lady Mayoress spoke at an event at Nomura around biodiversity, which supported St Mary’s Garden, and the Hyperion Group ran a webinar on Seven Clean Seas webinar: The Plastic Problem.
Although it was not possible to have bell ringers at several of the City’s churches to celebrate City Giving Day, the chimes at St Katharine Cree Church rang out loud and were a beautiful soundtrack to lunchtime.
Other activities that The Lord Mayor visited included PwC who provided a day of Intermediate and Advanced Excel Training to staff of their Charity Partner Crisis and Hospice UK, longstanding supporters the Bank of China – who had over 300 people join their online Town Hall event - Lloyds Banking Group and their annual charity fair, and an employability workshop with UBS volunteers, designed to provide students with an insight into the world of finance.
There were also opportunities for those not in the office to get involved, as the Appeal partnered with GoodBox to create a Charity Challenge platform. GoodBox created a series of charitable challenges which City workers can nominate their colleagues to do – be it a 10km run or simply baking a cake – with sponsorship providing the necessary encouragement.
Caroline Wright, Chief Executive Officer of The Lord Mayor’s Appeal says: “City Giving Day brings together the City of London and beyond to celebrate all the fantastic philanthropic and volunteering work that businesses and organisations do throughout the year. This year has been challenging, but the enthusiasm and commitment of people to come together and give their time, effort and money really is testament to the brilliant impact that the City has on society.”
The Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor William Russell says: “City Giving Day shows the philanthropic side of the City. We know that so much good work goes on in the Square Mile, and it’s been a delight to take part in the fundraising by City businesses today. Being able to see so much great work in action – online and offline – makes me so immensely proud of the city that I live and work in.”
The event shows a side to the businesses and firms that is community focused and concentrates on bringing about real impact. It’s part of The Lord Mayor’s Appeal’s multi-year strategy “A Better City for All”. Focused on four key pillars, the strategy aims to create a City that is Inclusive, Healthy, Skilled and Fair, with the objective of helping 1 million people thrive.