Five questions with St James Group

Five questions with Sharon Nicholls, Employment and Skills Manager for Rainbow Trust’s corporate partner, St James Group.

Rainbow Trust has been supported by St James and St William for many years, and having raised over £200,000 we thought it was about time we asked them to share a little bit about what our partnership means to them.

We asked Sharon Nicholls, our key contact at St James (and a powerhouse when it comes to staff fundraising) to answer a few questions.

Can you tell us a little bit about what St James and St William do?

St James and St William are two of the six key brands that make up the Berkeley Group.

The Berkeley Group builds homes and neighbourhoods. We work in partnership with local communities to shape unique and sustainable places, where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy a good quality of life.

We are a purpose driven company, with a clear long-term vision and deeply embedded values that shape everything we do. Our unique culture underpins our success, our brand and the positive contributions we make to society, the economy and the natural world.

Why did you choose to support Rainbow Trust?

We chose to support Rainbow Trust as we wanted to help make an impact on the good work you are already doing. Rainbow Trust is a local charity to us, and that’s really how it all started, but since then our support has come to mean so much more to our staff. We saw the impact that the pandemic had on Rainbow Trust’s fundraising and service provision and were in a fortunate position to be able to offer financial aid – and from the outset of the pandemic we have seen how our donations have helped to continue the incredible work of Rainbow Trust’s Family Support Workers, who were able to offer vital family support when other organisations could not.

What are the benefits to your business that come with supporting Rainbow Trust?

We create places where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy a good quality of life, and by supporting Rainbow Trust, we feel that our values align with helping to make a difference for children and their families.

We work closely with our account manager at Rainbow Trust, and with that personalised support we are able to come up with fundraising ideas that work for our staff. As time has progressed, our relationship has gone from strength to strength, and it feels like a true partnership. We’re able to share our ideas and the corporate team at Rainbow Trust help to make that a reality.

This summer we supported Rainbow Trust’s annual corporate golf day, and it was a fantastic opportunity for us to support our charity partner, whilst being able to invite our suppliers to network with us, particularly after not having been able to meet colleagues and clients for so long. Some of the most fun we’ve had is whilst we’ve been fundraising for Rainbow Trust – soak your colleague has been a particular highlight recently!

Rainbow Trust also offer us volunteering opportunities, which not only tick our CSR boxes but also bring staff together and gives them the opportunity to do something outside of their everyday remit. Staff wellbeing is so important, especially now we have hybrid working, and we find volunteering has been great for staff morale.

Can you outline your long term goals for this partnership?

To continue to support a charity which is close to our hearts. We see the difference that Rainbow Trust makes to families – it's the little things you wouldn’t think of – allowing an exhausted parent the time to shower, taking a sibling to school when their parents are at another hospital appointment with their sick child. The whole family is impacted when a child has a serious illness, and as we are nearing our quarter of a million raised for Rainbow Trust, I can only imagine we’ll want that partnership to keep going.

What would you say to other businesses thinking about supporting a charity?

It is fantastic to be able to offer support to those who need help, whilst bringing together staff and stakeholders. We find that supporting a charity improves wellbeing and brings people together. If you can support a charity through your business, the reward you will get back from it is immense.

If you are interested in becoming a corporate partner of Rainbow Trust, please visit our companies page for more information.