Responsibility By James Henderson

Bringing William Hill ‘Close to HOME’

At William Hill, we’ve been thinking a lot about our communities; most notably about how we can ‘give something back to the community’ and to think more about our contribution, our impact or, more widely, our social purpose. But what does ‘community’ mean to a business? And, in particular, what does ‘local community’ mean to an international business with 16,000 colleagues in nine different countries on four different continents? 

And, in our case, the answer is right in front of us, with countless examples from our colleagues, day in, day out.

In recent years, as we grew and became a more international business, our main focus was beyond our own borders – an extraordinary international project that could inspire 16,000 colleagues whether they were in Leeds, Sydney, Tel Aviv or Las Vegas. 

Through our own Project Africa, we’ve been working alongside local people and teachers to make a real difference to a small rural community in Kenya. Some of us have been privileged to go to Ol Maisor and get hands-on. More remarkably, colleagues right across the William Hill world got behind this project in a way we could never have imagined. Thanks to their generosity – with their time and their money – we’ve raised more than £220,000 for Project Africa. That’s brought real opportunity to 2,000 people in this remote community: better education, clean water and better health. And we know it works: in three short years, the Island School has increased from 150 to more than 500 pupils. We’re committed to continuing to work with that community for another two years.

So when it came to looking at where we focus our resources next, it was our colleagues who were the inspiration. Because not only have they been supporting Project Africa but they’ve also been engaged in hundreds of local community projects of their own, giving up their own time to raise money for charities close to their hearts or to volunteer for good causes. We’ve seen the power of what happens when we put the full weight of William Hill resources – our people and our time as well as our money – behind projects, and we want to do more.

We have a unique opportunity. We’re not only in nine countries. We’re also in 2,360 local communities right across the UK. It’s said only the Post Office has more locations!

So we’re getting behind them and going ‘Close to HOME’. It’s all about supporting our colleagues who want to make a positive difference – through sport, through skills and opportunity, and through their local community environments. Having seen what we’ve achieved already in Ol Maisor, I’m really excited to see what we can achieve in our own backyards.

[Image ref: William Hill is proud sponsor of Box Cup 2015]