B Corp Month – We Go Beyond: WWA Places

B Corp Month – We Go Beyond: WWA Places

What is community and why is it important? There is a common understanding of the word community that speaks of solidarity and homeliness. It is a natural and human thing that has a strange power to convey a sense of togetherness and positivity.

Community may be described as a group of people sharing a particular characteristic, interest, living space, area or attitude. It is a group of people who share an interest that defines an important aspect of their identity.

Communities can have influence. Where there is a feeling of trust, belonging and safety, people feel they have the ability and power to influence their environments.  This has immense power for the B Corp movement as a driver to galvanise social change.

Our responsibility is to empower the ‘Places’ that surround us by advocating the delivery of resilient built environments and connecting with our communities.

WWA’s impact on ‘Places’

In 2021, WWA launched ‘1% For Our Communities’ initiative. This is an initiative that sees 1% of our annual turnover (as a minimum) donated and invested back into our local communities. This donation is made up of volunteering days, charitable work, and pro-bono work.  Some of the organisations that have benefitted from the initiative include The Good Law Project, Surfers Against Sewage, RNLI, Crisis and the Trussell Trust.

Over the year, the team all have a day away from their ‘normal duties’ to volunteer. Many take this day away as a group to make as big an impact as possible. Others are involved with ongoing personal commitments to support their local community such as blood donations or working at local foodbank.

The Exeter Team at Killerton

This year, WWA’s Exeter office kicked off the team volunteering at Killerton, a National Trust property, and spent the day undertaking forestry maintenance, removing tree guards and tree thinning. The Truro team are hosting beach cleans around Cornwall with kit provided by Surfers Against Sewage, and the Winchester office have also partnered with Surfers Against Sewage to be part of the 1000-mile clean-up this year.

The Manchester team spent their volunteering day with City of Trees at Sale Water Park in Manchester coppicing willow trees – a traditional form of woodland management used to promote new growth and create new habitats. While some of the team coppiced willows, others picked up litter around the park.

Lauren Stewart, Assistant project manager said: “Coppicing willow trees, allows them to grow again and repeating this process provides sustainable solutions to tree management around the park. We were also quite surprised while we were litter picking, that we saw so many bags hanging off trees when there were bins everywhere! It’s so important to emphasise the message of taking your litter home with you.

Willow Coppicing in Manchester

Volunteering has benefits for us too and connecting as a team is just as important. After a day of volunteering at Poltimore House, driving tractors, diggers and uncovering a pathway, Bryony Whitehurst said: “I really enjoyed being able to spend time with the team outside of the office, doing something different. The volunteers at Poltimore House were very knowledgeable and we learnt a lot about the building and its history”.

Volunteering at Poltimore House near Exeter

In supporting our communities, WWA also offers advice and guidance where possible. Scott James FRSA, has recently joined Wildanet, LEAP and Cornwall Chamber of Commerce on their B23 journey. B23 is a campaign to encourage and support businesses using the Impact Assessment tool to achieve B-Certification and reflect on their sustainability models. The aim is to get 23 businesses from Cornwall to use the Impact Assessment tool to achieve B-certification. Volunteering as a B23 Leader, Scott James is delivering dedicated mentorship talks to help businesses navigate the impact assessment. The first session to be hosted is at the Cabilla in Cornwall and will take place on the 29th of March.

WWA’s focused outreach work also supports local schools, delivering educational activities such as STEM sessions for young women in year 10, disadvantaged communities and working with universities to support students in their studies.

Supporting our communities by nurturing the success and prosperity of people and our physical environments is a key part of our journey to achieving an inclusive and regenerative and inclusive economy.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  – Margaret Mead (American Cultural Anthropologist)

Yasmine Knox – WWA B Corp Assistant

Exeter Team at Killerton
Manchester Team at Sale Water Park
Exeter Team at Poltimore House