Coachlines - December 2023

20.12.23 Assistant Eric Wallbank

Meet the Team – the Charity Committee

What does the Charity Committee do?

Have you ever wondered how we find all those outstanding young people we give our awards to at our industry dinners? Or who runs our stands at careers fairs? Those are two of the main activities of the Charity Committee. But how does all this happen? And is that ‘all’ the Committee does?

The amount we distribute starts with a budget. The Charitable Fund is run independently by the Trustees, headed by Past Master Ian Smith, so we agree how much we can draw from the Fund each year – currently £100k. To that we add recurring income (such as from the John Pearl 100 Club), the proceeds of specific fundraising initiatives (such as that collected at the Goodwood Revival), and regular donations from external organisations to fund specific awards.

Where that money goes is laid out in a distribution policy:

1) Support for young people who are interested in, or who work in, our affiliated industries, through apprenticeships, work placements, education, and training.
2) Support for outreach and other projects for the engagement of young people in science and engineering.
3) Support for the City of London and our affiliated military units.
4) Community support within the UK, with a focus on London.

These objectives are in line with our Charitable Trust Deed. We are a Registered Charity regulated by the Charity Commission. This places overall responsibility with the Court, so while we propose a distribution, the Court is the decision-making body.
We also have guidance on how much should go towards each of those areas, as shown below:

This allocates 65% of our distribution directly to young people and a further 25% for activities promoting science and engineering to young people. The remainder, in keeping with the traditions of a London Livery Company, supports the City of London and our affiliated military units, and, when possible, supports disadvantaged young people and communities, particularly within London.

How are award winners selected?

We have sub-committees for each of our three affiliated industries, whose role includes finding these outstanding young people. These bright young engineers, designers and technicians will end up contributing to and, some of them, taking leading roles in our three affiliated industries. Some are already becoming active in the Livery through the under-35 scheme.

How they are selected I will leave up to the chairs of these subcommittees, who come later in this series: Junior Warden Mark Broadbent (Coachmaking and Carriage Driving Sub-Committee), Assistant Giles Taylor (Automotive Sub-Committee), and Steward Neil Sheath (Aerospace Sub-Committee).

There are guiding principles for all of our awards: they are only made if there is a suitable candidate worthy of the award; individuals must have the right to work in the UK; we seek to make a real difference to their education and careers; and we are neutral to gender, disability, or those from minority groups.

What do we do to engage young people in science and engineering?

We fund and engage with the outstanding Saturday Engineering Club at Kingston University for those at GCSE age. This draws from a diverse local community and has a good track record in those taking part going on to further studies in science subjects. We also fund a similar programme at the White City location of Imperial College London, for students studying A levels.

We are also increasingly involved in various careers events focused on promoting the so-called STEM subjects, at the London Careers Fair at the Guildhall, the Brooklands Innovation Academy, and the Science Museum’s Skills Fair.

Those from the Livery involved in engaging with young people find this fascinating and rewarding.

We also sponsor two A-level students through the Arkwright Scholarship scheme, and provide funding to promote STEM in schools though the Smallpeice Trust.

Together, these activities interact with youngsters from high school and follow them through college, university and on to the early stages of their careers in engineering, supporting them as they develop, bridging the gaps between different stages of their personal journeys.

What about fundraising?

We have a newly established Fundraising Sub-Committee, chaired by Senior Warden Steve Fitz-Gerald. This is now fully staffed and has a draft strategy for raising funds from both inside and outside of the Company. You will hear more about this later in the series.

Who sits on the Committee?

I have the honour to Chair a fine group of people, without whose efforts none of this would happen. In addition to the Master, Senior Warden, Clerk, and myself, the members currently are:

• Past Master Group Captain Marcus Wills CVO OBE
• Junior Warden Mark Broadbent, Chairman of the Coachmaking Sub-Committee
• Assistant Giles Taylor, Chairman of the Automotive Awards Sub-Committee
• Steward Neil Sheath, Chairman of the Aerospace Awards Sub-Committee
• Steward David Cole, Secretary
• Liverymen John Blauth and Andrew Blatherwick
• Freemen Ellie Bacon and Michael Malone.

What next for the Charity Committee?

There is much to do!

We have been set some ambitious targets. The Company Aiming Points include growing the Charitable Fund from around £2m to £3m – hence the Fundraising Sub-Committee.

The 350 Committee wishes us to make a step-change in our charitable activities for our 350th year, 2027, and beyond:

1. Connect directly with 350 young people to inform and enthuse them about careers in our industries – roughly double that of today, so more STEM activities at careers fairs, etc.
2. Support 35 young people studying towards careers in the Coachmakers’ three affiliated industries – so around double the number of awards of today.
3. Place at least five disadvantaged young people into employment within the three industry sectors – this is a new venture, so we are into uncharted territory for the Livery.

Despite that planned growth, in financial terms we are a relatively small endeavour but, through the members of the Livery who have, or had, careers in our associated industries, we are uniquely placed to provide insights, guidance and assistance to our award winners and younger Coachmakers.

To that end, we are in the process of establishing a formal mentoring programme for award winners. This will extend to under 35 members of the Livery. We are also re-establishing informal get-togethers for our award winners, past and present, with members of the Livery in their associated industries.

In summary

We put into action the Company strapline “an active Livery investing in young people”, in support of our affiliated industries of coach making and coach harness making, automotive and aerospace.

Currently, around 35 Liverymen are directly involved in the Committee, the Sub-Committees, and their activities. We seek to widen that engagement. Much of the help we need is in the ‘doing’, rather than Committee work.

Those of you with an interest in mentoring our extraordinary award winners would be very welcome to help form a cadre of mentors.

If have recently joined the Livery and, in your application, expressed an interest in our charitable endeavours, now is the time to get in touch.

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