Chamber ‘Raises the Bar’ to encourage social responsibility across Yorkshire

West and North Yorkshire Chamber is encouraging more businesses to ‘act responsibly’ in the areas of education, employment, environment and the community.

Retaining its annual Raising the Bar awards event, which celebrates businesses who are active in their local communities, the Chamber has gathered opportunities from charities and communities and “how to” case studies to unlock the potential of businesses in Bradford, Leeds, York and North Yorkshire by sharing experiences learning from what has worked well from award winners and others.

Chief Executive Sandy Needham said: “Raising the Bar has historically celebrated social responsibility success stories. Now we want to help more local businesses give back, by connecting with and learning from others who have already made a start.”

She added: “For those wanting to start or review their social impact activity, a steering group has pulled together the success stories of businesses of a variety of sizes who’ve shared their top tips. And that’s exactly where the Raising the Bar website can help with advice, information and support on colleague volunteering, fundraising and working with the community.”

In 2017, entrants to the Raising the Bar business awards recorded almost 20,000 hours of ‘giving back’ to their local communities with Leeds-based document management specialists the Arena Group securing the community category award.

Head of Software Development and Delivery Graham Harris said: “The Raising the Bar judges made special mention of our 25th anniversary year of fundraising when we picked up our community award. They recognised the huge effort of our 220 employees who collectively raised over £32,000 for local hospices and commended our success in involving everyone across the business.

“The effort we put in every year to our CSR activities benefits our communities and the charities we work with including sponsorship of local Run for All events which enable young people to participate in healthy activity regardless of background. Involvement in CSR also pays huge dividends in terms of employee engagement by enhancing our culture and making Arena great people to do business with. We’d definitely encourage others to put people and the community at the heart of their business and to get involved in Raising the Bar 2018 – receiving this great accolade has been a true source of pride to our employees.”

Sandy added: “Good social responsibility isn’t all about raising money – there is real value in transferring knowledge and skills through the gift of your time. Through Raising the Bar we want to unlock the social responsibility potential of local businesses and get them connecting, talking and learning from each other to help more firms take the steps that make a real difference in their communities.”

More information about the West and North Yorkshire Chamber’s inspiring case studies and top tips can be found at or by emailing or calling 08455 240 240.