O2 people based at the Arlington Business Centre have participated in a wide range of events from a sponsored skydive, an onsite Fun Day, to winning an “Ambition Award” to the tune of £10,000 from Yorkshire Forward.

St. Luke’s CARES based in South Leeds work with over 4,000 young people every year to bring down the level of anti-social behaviour in the area. The programme was elected by O2 Staff in March 2008 to become their It’s Your Community Project of the Year, and receive financial and physical support from staff at the centre. A community crew was formed at the centre to drive the fundraising and the initial target of £15,000 was quickly hit. As a reward for their efforts, O2 then threw in an additional £5,000. Everyone has been working hard to make sure the money keeps on rising to enable their chosen charity to reach more young people in need.

Mark Nichols, Head of Contact Centre Operations in Leeds, heads up the O2 fundraising Community Crew on site, said: “We are proud to be working with St Luke’s CARES and I know the staff have been enthusiastic to fundraise as much cash as they can for the project. Working with a local project makes the result of fundraising even more special, but we are also making efforts to be directly involved in the project.”

Louise Megson, of St Luke’s CARES, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic O2 are supporting their local community. The money will go towards the purchase of a Youth Bus for the young people in the hard to reach areas of Leeds which will prove to be invaluable. The young people, the staff and the volunteers have really got their teeth into making this relationship a great success for everyone.

The decision in January 2008 to support a local projects marked a step change in the O2’s Community Investment activities. Previous the company had worked with a single UK charity partner but based on employee and customer feedback decided to go local and launch It’s Your Community a nationwide community improvement programme. To date £1 million has been given to over 1,250 projects across the UK in cash awards of up to £1,000. At O2’s five main sites staff have raised £100,000 for their elected Big Site projects and provided physical support through employee volunteering.

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