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Corporate Responsibility & Spire In The Community

At Spire Barristers, we believe every business is responsible for the environment and the community it operates. That’s why we’re committed to making a positive impact on both.

First and foremost, we’re taking steps to reduce our environmental footprint. We’ve implemented energy-efficient practices and waste-reduction measures throughout our chambers and are committed to using environmentally friendly products and materials whenever possible.

But our commitment to environmental sustainability goes beyond our practices. We’re also working with our clients and partners to ensure they know their activities’ ecological implications and encourage them to adopt more sustainable practices.

We’re also deeply committed to community engagement. Our responsibility as a business is to give back to the communities supporting us. That’s why we’ve established relationships with local charities and non-profits, and we encourage our staff and barristers to get involved in community service and volunteering.

We aim to become active, contributing members of society and use our influence and resources to impact the world around us positively.

 

By embracing environmental sustainability and community engagement, we can create a brighter, better future for everyone. Join us on this journey.

Chambers in the Community

In 2020 Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals struck a chord with many of us, particularly with Connie Purdy and Ashley Lord. They set about galvanising Chambers into action, determined that we could contribute something towards this campaign of conscience. This project didn’t fall within the remit of the Spire Foundation, but Connie and Ashley were not deterred!

Altogether donations nearly, totalling £3,500 were raised, and it was decided to distribute this amongst schools in the geographical areas Chambers practises in. There were some schools that members of Chambers (Mark Watterson and David Phillips) had links with, and other schools were vetted in respect of their eligibility and needs by Sue Philpott (the lovely wife of Colin Philpott, Chambers Finance Manager), who has over 35 years of experience as a Headteacher. So, it was a real team effort!

We managed to help the children and their families of SEVEN different schools; Fieldhead Carr Primary, Kirton–in-Lindsey Primary, Parklands Primary, Gledhow School, Bracken Edge School, St Helens School Wakefield and Oakfield School. Whilst the donation was for the assistance of vulnerable or at-risk children, we placed no other restrictions upon how the money would be used as we realised the schools would know better than us how to use it. This has resulted in various uses, including Christmas Hampers, a “ Raising Aspirations Programme” for disadvantaged KS2 children and school uniforms.

As is often the way, one good deed inspires another.  A local co-operative found out that a benefiting school was using the donation to buy items for Christmas hampers from them; they heavily discounted their prices The hampers were distributed to the families of vulnerable children. The surplus money was then used to set up a fund to help parents purchase school uniforms for their growing children in the New Year, which the Head explained is also a source of stress to parents.

 

This thank-you message from one of the Head Teachers sums it up best of all…

“The families selected come from a broad cross-section of our school, those who have always struggled, but also those who have been hit incredibly hard (both parents out of work) by COVID and have found themselves for the first time without any money and limited as to what support they can access. Your support has allowed us to reach 70 children and make a difference for families who fear how they will put regular food on the table monthly. Your joint efforts and small acts of kindness have made a difference to our families this year!”

- Head Teacher

Spire Foundation

In 2011 Chambers set up the 3 Wishes Foundation, which we administered through the Leeds Community Foundation. This inspired us to do more, be involved in our community, and give back to those who could do with help or support. So, in 2019 we set up The Spire Foundation, which has charitable status and is registered as a charity.

To paraphrase, the Spire Foundation is

“A charity aimed at supporting vulnerable adults and children, who have learning or physical disabilities, or have experienced the care system, in the North of England. The charity aims to supply those individuals with funds and support to enable them to advance themselves through education, such as funding courses or work placements, or other means, including funds for equipment or assistive technology. This is to help them improve their life outcomes and interactions with the care system where appropriate.”

Our current trustees are Jacqui Thomas KC (Secretary), Liz Shaw, Sarah Blackmore, Ashley Lord (Chair), Sharon Tappin, Leigh Royall & Colin Philpott (Treasurer). Our income is from donations from our supporters and members of Chambers and fundraising events.

The Foundation has already changed the life of one young careleaver. “H” is now undertaking a master’s degree in structural engineering over two years, working full time and caring for a parent and some younger siblings looking after children. We recognise how unusual it is that a care leaver progresses to doing a degree due to the constraints of the student bursary and lottery of support available.

To proceed to a postgraduate master’s degree is certainly exceptional! We were told how this opportunity would enhance “H’s” career prospects, and had he been advised better initially; he would have chosen structural engineering for his first degree. So, in conjunction with another local charity, the Spire Foundation committed to sharing the costs of this master’s degree. This amounted to £2,550 per annum being paid by the Foundation. “H” keeps us up to date with his progress, and although he has had to adapt to studying remotely, he is very positive despite such a busy life.

 

In “H” own words…

“Sometimes it can be hard to progress alone, and help can mean so much, so thank you very much.”

Our everyday professional lives revolve around families suffering and going through their worst times. We are privileged to be able to help but are constantly reminded that there is always more that could and should, be done. The Spire Foundation gives us a focus to assist in areas where modest amounts of money will create a longer-term benefit for those we help. The ethos of the Spire Foundation of concern for others and wanting to make a difference embodies the very spirit of chambers.

We have just started and have much to achieve, but I hope you will agree that we don’t just ‘talk the talk,’ but Spire Barristers ‘walk the walk’!

The Spire Foundation