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Nomura volunteers for Oxford House

‘It has been fascinating to get an insight into the difficulties of keeping a concern like Oxford House going and the governance, funding, and management challenges that entails.  The team there are really creative and entrepreneurial – they do a fantastic job and I for one have learnt a great deal from seeing how they deal with all the issues involved’.

Angus Warren, Head of Corporate Services, Nomura

On the Oxford House blog we usually like to write about upcoming events, exhibitions, and our heritage. But this year – in the spirit of giving back – we would also like to write about the people who work closely with us here, people such as trustees, volunteers, and staff.

Volunteers from Nomura, a financial services company in the city, have been helping OH since January 2013, and to date, more recently employees brought ladders, paintbrushes and paint and provided us with make-overs to our reception, café and theatre lobby. Oxford House’s relationship with Nomura is invaluable. I sat down with Charlotte Edgeworth, Normura’s Head of Community Affairs, to discuss the mutual benefits shared by Oxford House and Nomura.

1. What does the company Nomura do?
Nomura is a financial services group based in more than thirty countries that was started in Japan in 1925. Within the company there are three different divisions; retail banking; asset management; and wholesale (global markets and investment banking).

2. What do you do within the company?
I’m the Head of Community Affairs and am responsible for three distinct areas: the first is that we – Nomura – have a London Community Partnership Initiative wherein employees vote for a ‘charity of the year’, and employees get together and fundraise for that partner. Then we have the Nomura Charitable Trust, which is the grant-making side, essentially a pot of money that comes from Nomura and from employees too, which is a registered charity. Finally, our third strand is employee engagement. We want employees to be involved with the community too, so beyond raising funds, we can use their skills in volunteering time.

3. How do you think Nomura’s relationship with Oxford House has benefitted the company?
For us, organisations like OH give us a link with the community that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Our employees come from all over London and beyond, and very often one feels very disconnected from the local community. But, by working with the local organisations we gain a far greater insight into what’s going on.

4. How do you think Nomura’s relationship with Oxford House has benefitted the charity?
I hope that it has benefitted you in numerous ways! The help that the volunteers have been able to give has been useful in terms of things like refurbishing the office, being able to donate equipment, and I think that relationship – I hope – means that OH feels that they can phone up someone with expertise in an area that they need, which only serves to strengthen the relationship between us and OH.

5. How have the charity events and volunteering activities had a positive impact on the employees who have volunteered?
The volunteers get an awful lot of out of it! With OH – and with others – the feeling that one is getting something more out of work, and more generally, life, through helping an organisation that otherwise would not have been able to do certain things, is really fantastic for the employees.

6. Is there anything that the volunteers have learned that they have brought back into the work environment?
It has taught them why there is a need for larger companies to engage with the wider community and ultimately what corporate responsibility is about.

7. How do you see the relationship between OH and Nomura strengthening in the future?
I would like to think that the project that we’ve been introduced to OH through – the Beyond Boundary Project – allows us to create a legacy of this project, and as a result of that, our teams can continue to work with OH.

Text: Lydia Anderson

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