The Community Mark is awarded by Business in the Community (BITC) to recognise companies that are strong investors in their communities. M&S was particularly noted for our Marks & Start programme helping to get people back into the workplace.
We’re proud to say that M&S is one of the first UK-based businesses to be awarded the ‘CommunityMark’.
The CommunityMark is awarded by Business in the Community (BITC) and is a new national standard designed to recognise companies that are great investors in their communities. To receive it, all our work with local communities was given a thorough, independent assessment.
One of the projects that particularly stood out was Marks & Start. Launched in 2004, Marks & Start is a work experience programme for the homeless, disabled, lone parents and young unemployed.
Working with partners DisabledGo, Business Action on Homelessness, One Parent Families|Gingerbread and The Prince’s Trust, we manage to put around 650 people a year through the programme.
Each participant has a two or four week placement, usually in stores, but occasionally in offices, which offers them structured training with the day-to-day support of a coach and a buddy. To make the experience even more accessible, the programme provides them with travel expenses, free meals and a reference at the end of the placement.
Fiona Weir, Chief Executive One Parent Families|Gingerbread said: "We are delighted that Marks & Spencer has been awarded the prestigious CommunityMark. The long term nature of M&S’ commitment to the communities in which it works and the fact that it is embedded right throughout the company has meant that we have been able to build on initial successes and develop the Marks & Start programme over time. "
The CommunityMark was developed by BITC with the support of UK companies, public and voluntary sector bodies and is endorsed by the government and the voluntary sector. HRH the Prince of Wales, president of BITC, is also a supporter.