Heathrow has today published its new Giving Back Programme, reasserting its commitment to the local community to make the area a great place to live and work.
This is the first comprehensive community investment plan published by the airport, clarifying the various ways it already supports the local community as well as setting out a variety of new initiatives.
Following last year’s refreshed ‘Heathrow 2.0’ sustainability strategy, which set out clear ambitions for this decade, the new plan takes on board a wealth of feedback from local communities to determine what is most important to them.
Crucially, the airport wanted to understand these priorities to ascertain how it can be a better neighbour and how it can ensure local communities are able to fully benefit from its role as a connector.
Heathrow will meet its one million people pledge through a range of initiatives, including expanding existing schemes – like doubling the number of schools it supports through its Local Schools Partnership; and launching an employability programme – Heathrow World of Work – to connect young people in the community with first-hand experiences of the workplace, helping them get their foot on the careers ladder.
The airport will connect more than 10,000 local people to jobs, apprenticeships and early career opportunities, a unique ability given its position as the largest single-site employer in the UK.
By donating £1m per year to local groups, primarily via the Heathrow Community Trust, Heathrow and the grant-giving charity can continue to help grassroots organisations reach out to and support vulnerable and isolated members of the community.
More than 200 community projects will receive funding through the Local Community Support Fund across issues that were identified in the consultation as being most important, including tackling the cost-of-living, restoring heritage sites and building a greener neighbourhood.
Engagement with local residents over the last year showed clearly how important green spaces are to the community.
The Giving Back Programme illustrates how Heathrow will continue to preserve these spaces for current and future generations – from playgrounds for toddlers to local sports teams using parkland. The airport is expanding the reach of its Community Rangers, who are out and about in the community every day.
They will continue to work closely with local groups, schools and councils to improve the environment through gardening and landscaping initiatives.
Their new responsibilities under this programme will support delivery of Heathrow 2.0, which made new and improved commitments on biodiversity, noise and emissions.
Furthermore, to firmly demonstrate that those who work at the airport are a part of the community, Heathrow is increasing the hours its employees devote to volunteering for community projects over the next two years.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye welcomed the new report, commenting: “Our Giving Back Programme is a clear reflection of what the local community has told us over the last year and our way of saying loudly and clearly that being a responsible neighbour will always be a priority.
“We’ve listened to the community’s views – some of it good, all of it completely honest, and often highlighting areas where we can improve our work.
“The overriding message was clear: Heathrow must become a connector in the community once more.
“That means connecting people with new employment opportunities, with nature and the local environment, and ensuring funding remains in place for vital local institutions.
“This programme is the first step of a long-term plan to inspire people to move here because of the airport, not in spite of it.”
Anne Marie Goodacre, CEO of Stanwell Events, said: “It’s really important for community groups across the local area to be able to work directly with Heathrow and see them put their time, effort and money to use where it matters.
“Heathrow has always lent a helping hand, connecting us to support where needed and maximising its impact as a good neighbour.
“One business can’t solve all the community’s problems, but I look forward to seeing Heathrow turn the Giving Back Programme’s promises into results and continuing to make a real difference to local people’s lives.”
Heathrow will offer regular opportunities for local residents to give their opinion on how the Giving Back Programme is progressing through its Annual Local Community Survey and ongoing Community Forums.