Alison Wallington of Kent Event Centre looks at how corporate social responsibility can make great business sense.

We live in a technology rich world where human connections are at an all-time low, yet the events industry we work in demands human connection, it is the heartbeat of what we do. Events are all about face-to-face communication and building relationships to help build our businesses. CSR programmes help to bring the human element to the forefront of relationships and are a great way of giving something back. Here at the Kent Event Centre we have found that through our CSR efforts we have built great relationships with the local community and we now have many advocates in our local community who recommend our services for events. These are some of the things we do:

As a charity ourselves we understand the challenges charities are facing today, particularly when it comes to funding and diversifying income. We strive to assist other charities in achieving their objectives wherever we can. To start with we offer a 25 per cent discount to charities looking to hold events at our venue, this also extends to Kent County Council, the NHS and UKPower.

Community is at the heart of Kent Event Centre and we have great relationships with the local emergency services and offer our facilities to: the local Police for training their dogs, the fire brigade to test their hoses, urban Search and Rescue and carry out essential disaster training onsite, the Kent Police tactical unit for firearms training and the NHS Emergency Planning team for essential training and meetings.

We run an event for local school children from 52 Kent primary schools called Living Land. Living Land attracts 3,000 children looking to learn more about where their food comes from and understand farming, animals and machinery. At the most recent event children got to bake their own bread, spin their own yarn, taste food and drink produced locally and see farm machinery.

We are extremely passionate about supporting the land-based sector and as part of our wider charitable objectives, we have a scholarship scheme for Kent based students studying for a degree course in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, equine, veterinary and animal management, environment and conservation or any other related subject.

Knowing that we take part in so many positive community initiatives leaves our customers with a ‘feel good factor’ that they have played a positive part too. We pride ourselves on being a community venue available to all. Our customers are constantly surprised that as a charity ourselves we want to give back to the community. We do what we do because we believe in what we do. We have wonderful facilities and our emergency services do a wonderful job. If we can help them in any way then it is us that are fortunate.