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Celebrating bp in the Community and the impact of volunteering on our local communities

Release date:
7 December 2016
BP recently hosted an event at Tate Britain to thank their volunteers for the inspirational work they do supporting local communities and schools. Stef Reid, world-class Paralympian attended the event and spoke of the importance of her own mentors in rebuilding her confidence after a boating accident

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.” 



Students are talking about careers in ways that they have not in the past and we have seen significant improvements to the attitude of some of our students.
Head of year 10,George Green high school



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.



It was great seeing the pride on the faces of everyone there. And they deserve it; together they’ve driven real business value by giving BP a human and helpful face to the community.
Joseph Merlini,UK sports partnership director



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.



This opportunity has been amazing and an insightful experience – in fact life changing! He went on to add that he is now well and truly Career Ready
BP intern on the Career Ready programme



In Canary Wharf the main focus for volunteering was on:

  • Employability Skills - Providing work experience placements to students aged 14-18.  BP volunteers have been running workshops on interview skills, CV’s and job applications. They also ran presentation skills and speed networking sessions to help raise the aspirations of local young people.
  • Internships -  A number of six week paid internships were offered to students from deprived parts of London and the South East, working with Career Ready, a national charity that links schools with businesses to help bridge the gap between education and the world of work.
  • Mentoring - Volunteers mentored both secondary and primary school students, helping to increase their confidence and motivation as well as encouraging them to think about their careers choices.


When I first met my mentor I was really nervous but by the time we got to the end I felt really comfortable talking to her. She helped me raise my confidence and learn how to deal with my emotions. To succeed in the future, I have to practice to get good at the things I want to do. I think it was really important to have a mentor to help me understand these things.
10-year-old pupil Nishath,Cubitt Town Primary School



About BP in the community

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?


Find out more about BP in the community