Opening the event, David Bucknall, CFO for BP’s supply and trading business, said “our community affairs programme has grown and developed over a number of years, and is an important way for us to give back to the communities in which we operate. But it’s also good for business. Through our schools links and internship programmes we are able to reach a pool of potential employees, many of whom may not go through the traditional graduate entry route. I’ve been struck on many occasions this year by the positive impact this programme has had on both the local community and our employees, and, as executive sponsor, I’m proud to have been a part of that.”
Stef Reid, Paralympic silver medallist in the long jump at both London and Rio, gave a moving speech to the volunteers about what mentoring means to her. Stef spoke about how she had always wanted to be a professional rugby player but after a boating accident, when she was 15, she had to have her foot amputated and her dream was shattered. She described her pain and the growing amount of self-pity she felt as the months and even years went by. Then one day her nurse simply said to her that she couldn’t continue like that. There was another girl in the ward missing both legs and she was managing just fine.
This was the inspiration Stef needed to get her life back on track and become a world-class Paralympian. She described how her nurse and all the mentors and coaches she’s had since her accident had helped her to regain her confidence and made her believe she could be the best she could be.
BP’s Canary Wharf businesses (supply and trading, treasury, and shipping) have been running a variety of volunteering programmes from their Canary Wharf site based in Tower Hamlets, one of London’s poorest boroughs, for the past 10 years.
The programme has created an opportunity for employees to develop skills in mentoring, coaching and leadership as well as helping improve personal and professional skills along the way. But more importantly it’s what our volunteers are able to give back to the community they work in that really matters.
For the past 40 years, BP has demonstrated a commitment to communities in the UK through our support of arts and culture, sport, community organisations and charities and we're also developing talent in our communities, through our support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.
Did you know that in 2015 UK communities benefited from nearly $4m of employee contributions which was then matched by the BP Foundation, BP’s employee matching fund and over 34,650 hours were volunteered by UK-based employees?