One hundred and seventy KPMG staff have spent this week taking part in the Big Blue Abseil raising over £45,000 for their selected charities Action for Literacy and Shelter.
Abseiling challenges took place at KPMG offices in London, the Manchester velodrome, and the Avon Gorge near Bristol, with staff in Canary Wharf bravely tackling the 230 feet drop of their 15 Canada Square headquarters.
Included in the event were Jonathan Boyers, Head of Corporate Finance in Manchester, Phil Cotton, Senior Partner for Bristol office and Mona Bitar, UK Head of Charity Partnerships who scaled the Canary Wharf office.
Commenting on the event, Mona Bitar said: “I have to say a huge congratulations to all of our brave volunteers, who like me probably failed to realise just how exciting and terrifying going over the top of a 15 storey building would be when we signed up for this challenge.
“As a result of everyone’s efforts we have raised a large amount of money which will help both Shelter and Action for Literacy with the invaluable work that they are doing across the UK in improving literacy and promoting social inclusion. Increasing literacy skills and preventing homelessness are fundamental to rebuilding the UK economy, supporting routes to social mobility and increasing opportunities for all. They are a basic skill and a basic need which we believe are every young person’s right.”
KPMG has been supporting Action for Literacy and Shelter for nearly two years as part of their selected charity programme. Throughout the partnership KPMG has sought to deliver deeper value to the charities by providing pro bono strategic and business advice as well as taking part in a wide range of skills based volunteering and fundraising activities.
KPMG hopes to raise over £1 million for the two charities combined – and provide a sustainable legacy through long-term improvements to their businesses.
One in six people in the UK struggle with literacy. This means that they live without the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills they need to fulfil their potential. Literacy is the key to the digital age. Without literacy skills, the potential for exclusion from society is greater than ever.
Meanwhile, there are more than 40,000 homeless families living in temporary housing across England, which has devastating impacts on children’s health, well-being and education. Research shows that children who are homeless or living in bad conditions are twice as likely to leave school without GCSEs, showing the clear link between homelessness and the social, educational and psychological disadvantages that are often an underlying cause of social exclusion.
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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
Action for Literacy is a new partnership between Dyslexia Action and National Literacy Trust, who have responded to the changing charity landscape and recognised the value added in joining together to help meet the needs of the communities they support. Their work has strong synergies with KPMG’s existing educational programmes. Many KPMG staff act as reading or numbers partners in local primary schools, for example, and KPMG was one of the founding parties of the Every Child a Chance Trust which calculated the true cost to the UK of poor literacy. KPMG is also joint sponsor of the City Academy, Hackney in London.
Shelter helps over three million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place. We’re here so no-one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own and believe that everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Our legal and housing experts help people tackle their problems and campaign for long term change, and the KPMG partnership will enable the charity’s expert housing advisers to reach an extra 6,900 people in housing need.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.