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What inspired the Axter Climate & Community Initiative?

Posted by Maisie Kelly —

Just like individuals, businesses also have a responsibility to contribute positively to our shared environment and society.

Our commitment to sustainability and people sits at the heart of Axter, from the business strategy to our products and services. And now, this extends to how we use our specific expertise and success to support other organisations working in these areas.

That is why we're so passionate about our six climate and community charity partnerships and how we are working together on a long-term basis, aiming to make a difference locally and nationally.

Why we founded the Axter Climate & Community Initiative

Any company is, first and foremost, a group of people. Even in today’s connected world, many of us still live and work in the same local area. Our children attend school here; we are part of a community in which we all have a stake.

Axter Ltd. has been operating out of Suffolk for over 30 years, so our team is deeply connected with this area. As a successful local company, we wanted to do something specifically for our neighbouring communities. That is why we are using our resources and skills to help fund and support Suffolk-based charities – to benefit our shared environment and improve the lives of people across the county, our own staff included.

Alongside that, we believe we are all part of a global community with challenges in common, climate change being perhaps the biggest one. Much of our work aligns naturally with a sustainability focus. In fact, we called our new blog area LookUp to emphasise that roofs are often taken for granted or overlooked, unless you look upwards, notice, and think about all of the possibilities. We are passionate about realising the underused potential of roof spaces in supporting sustainability and community, as evidenced by our green roof, blue roof and solar offerings and our support of national and local environmental organisations.

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How we chose our six partner charities

Our Managing Director, Phillip Wilcox-Moore, led the setup of the initiative personally, but the whole team was able to contribute to the consultative process. The outcome of the internal discussion was our two-strand initiative – Climate & Community - with three specific partners agreed upon for each strand.

This whole team ethos has carried over into how we engage with the charities we support – from the entire organisation participating in mental health training; to using their professional expertise to support collaborative projects with our partners; and future opportunities to volunteer their time or get involved in the grant process.

Our charity partners

We’re a Partner Investor for the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, which rewilds local land, including land it successfully reclaims from the sea.

Rewilding Britain helps and empowers rewilders from across Great Britain. This national organisation knew we wanted a community focus and put us in touch with a local partner of theirs, WildEast, so we work with both organisations in the same strand.

We’re working with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, who campaign to develop, conserve and protect wetlands, on one of the most exciting projects we have ever undertaken, and a true first of its kind: putting a wetland on a roof. Axter is donating our technical and design services to this project, which is still in the planning stages, and we are excited to see it develop.

Last year, we began working with Suffolk Mind to train our staff to spot and help colleagues cope with mental health challenges. We now also support their EARLY Minds programme, enabling them to take the service into seven local schools.

Below is a picture of some people from our team enjoying Suffolk Mind's Gala on the Farm fundraising event.

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For Emmaus Suffolk, as well as sponsoring their One Pot Wonder scheme, we covered the cost of supplying and installing energy-providing solar roofs on two of their housing units for vulnerable people.

Suffolk Community Foundation (SCF) is the largest local Grantmaker, connecting smaller charities and non-profits with the essential funds that make their work possible. Working with SCF, we have set up the Axter Climate & Community Fund to help climate action and community health and wellbeing charities throughout the county.

Our relationship with the SCF is very close to our hearts and, in part, prompted the creation of this whole initiative. Phillip, our MD, sadly experienced a very personal and unexpected loss. Phillip and his family turned to a local charity working specifically to support people in this situation, one funded via the SCF. Certainly, the experience drove home the value such organisations bring to our communities.

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The importance of long-term relationships

One important aspect of the climate and community initiative is that it is intended to generate ongoing relationships. We talk to our partners regularly and get to know them and their wider sphere.

Teachers from the schools we support through Suffolk Mind, for example, are due to visit our office - along with Suffolk Mind - for a launch of the programme at the start of the coming school year. And, there was no thought at first that our interaction with Emmaus would involve a solar roofing project, but upon getting to know them and the projects they support, it was a natural partnership in an area where our sector expertise would allow us to help effectively.

These relationships are truly reciprocal; we have so much to learn from each organisation’s specific expertise and how we can work together as partners. Our connection has led us to engage the services of Rewilding Britain and WildEast as consultants as we explore ways in which we might expand our green roof range into even more sustainable and bio-diverse offerings.

We, and our new partners, are at the beginning of a new experience, which we will explore together, and which will no doubt evolve. But, if we all pull together, we can help to strengthen communities and head towards a better world.

To find out more about us and how our values sit at the heart of the products and services we offer, please do get in touch.

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