Funding buildings, building lives

We support life-changing projects around the world

We work with two charities, Plan UK and Build it International, to establish exclusively funded buildings and projects around the world. The aim is to reduce poverty in areas that need help. Typical projects include building schools, education centres and health clinics.

Each year, up to 20 BGL people visit the projects and work with the local communities.

In June 2016, a collection of 18 BGL employees travelled to Zambia, visiting the Mutaba Health Clinic, a facility their fundraising efforts helped to build. Learn more about the project and read a day-by-day account of their experiences by visiting our blog.

Project 2: A new primary school in Zambia

21 employees were selected from scores of applications to help us raise funds to build a new primary school in Zambia, where poverty and unemployment are major issues. Having raised over £100,000 the team flew out to Zambia in May 2014 to meet the community and help add some finishing touches to the school. In addition to creating sports pitches, a vegetable garden, an orchard and painting murals in the classrooms, the team ran educational sessions and games with the children.

Here are some of their comments:

Tom Lines

When we first arrived, it was so overwhelming, it felt like a heroes’ welcome. It was the first moment that we could see some proof, with our own eyes, of how we have changed people’s lives with our fundraising efforts.

Holli Posnett

I learned how lucky we are, and how much we take for granted. But I have also realised how happy people are in Kabaka with what little they have.

Johanna Beech

Seeing how the money had been spent and what the community had managed to achieve with it is something I will never forget.

Leon Schouten, Hoyhoy.nl

This was definitely the best experience of my life! It was amazing to see how thankful the local people were for our help. My favourite moment was the football match with the local guys – we pulled in a crowd of more than 300 people.

Richard Salisbury

The people of Kabaka don’t have a lot in material terms but they are certainly rich in many other ways – their wonderful smiles and the sound of laughter will stay with me. If I only take only one thing away from this trip – and I hope to take many – it is to live in a joyful way. That’s what Kabaka taught me.

Project 1: Preschool education in Guatemala

50% of the population in Guatemala live in poverty. Education is key to improving their lives but it is difficult for children to enter and stay in the school system. 1.5 million under-6s in Guatemala have no pre-primary education at all.

We exclusively funded four new preschool classrooms in rural Guatemala, plus 22 ‘Early Childhood Care and Development’ centres. These centres help mothers understand the developmental importance of play, and give pre-school children free access to educational toys and games. Of the £143,000 project cost, £107,000 was raised by our employees.

Ten employees, selected for their personal contribution to the community, visited the projects in April 2013. Here is what some of them had to say.

Andrew Brudenell

Seeing the classroom BGL funded is a moment I’ll never forget. I could see how much it meant to the children – I felt very proud.

Collette Perks

The Guatemalan national anthem played and each child stood with their hand on their heart singing with pride. I looked on and sobbed. I felt proud to be working for such a caring organisation.

Caroline Ford

It was lovely to see our toys distributed and watch the children instantly play with them.

Su Leggett

The parents were also learning to play; because of civil war a whole generation hasn’t experienced the pleasure of a simple toy.

Putting the fun into fundraising

Fundraising is a hugely important part of life at BGL. We like it because it unites people from our different teams and brands and enables them to do something amazing together. Here are some examples of what we do.

Dragon boat tournament

This is an annual event that takes place on Peterborough Rowing Lake. Teams enter from all over the business, including our Paris and Haarlem offices. Each team has to raise £3k to compete. The 2013 event raised more than £70,000 for our international projects.

Fire-walking

A number of brave BGL employees took part in a fire-walking challenge.

Human dog race

Directors donned dog costumes and raced around Peterborough Greyhound track.

Thames challenge

In April 2014 our executive board and 38 colleagues from all over the group took on a challenge to row a 66km stretch of the Thames – in a day! Thanks to a rigorous training regime with Olympic rower Carla Devlin the challenge was met in under 11 hours, and raised almost £50,000 for Zambia.

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