Mark Abbott, Managing Director of Ansell Lighting, explains why giving back to the communities that support your business has never been more important.
2022 was an important year for Ansell Lighting. We celebrated our 30th birthday with a host of events and fundraising – and of course quite a significant number of product launches.
Underlining our commitment to developing and producing high quality products we have launched innovative luminaires such as Z LED Plus – a powerful addition to the highbay lighting range; the unique Adler LED Exit Sign which features fully rotatable legends to allow the direction of the arrow indicators to be changed as required and the Prism Pro High Output and Prism Pro Mini CCT Fire Rated Downlights that are fully compliant in all ceiling types.
But we also took a step back to consider how we, as a growing, successful and ambitious business, could give something back to the people and organisations that not only support our business but those that have played such an important role in sustaining their own communities over the difficult last few years.
Blue is the colour
One of the first ways we did that was to pledge our support for the charity Our Blue Light, which provides mental health and wellbeing support to emergency services and essential services workers.
In the midst of the pandemic, emergency services workers worked tirelessly, putting themselves at the forefront of the fight against Covid. Our Blue Light provides support and respite from those relentless demands of working in hospitals and other emergency services. It provides physical and mental support in the shape of organised activities such as family peer support camps, walks, challenges and the opportunity to swim with Newfoundland dogs – something a number of our Ansell colleagues took the opportunity to join in with.
And then we decided to do something that feeds into what we do best – lighting! The Ansell Shine A Light campaign was designed to highlight projects and initiatives that have provided vital support and services to their communities in the last couple of years, with the winner receiving a lighting installation worth up to £5,000 to help them improve their facilities and therefore the services they provide.
We engaged with our customers and partners, from wholesalers to installers and end-users, via social media, direct marketing and POS, asking them to support the campaign by nominating their local projects and spreading the word about the competition.
Entries came in from across the country – from community gardens to brass bands; junior sports clubs to cafes and social support hubs; Scout groups to sensory rooms. Our final shortlist of four projects included:
Spark Community Space in Southsea, Portsmouth – a charity and safe space that offers access to support and services to people who feel like they don’t ‘fit in’, so they can ‘Spark’ back into life – that wanted to improve the lighting in its new ‘forever’ home.
Cleethorpes Band – a 140-year-old brass band in North East Lincolnshire that is an important part of the community, performing regularly and encouraging people to learn a new skill – but that needed better lighting to enable players to more easily see their sheet music, and to make the building more welcoming.
From Tiny Seeds Community Interest Company in Holmfirth, Huddersfield, which provides free parenting, baby and childcare support to local families and wanted to develop a sensory room to support families with additional needs.
Stable and safe
All very worthy projects. But the eventual winner was Elmbridge Community Eco Hub, in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, which provides a multifunctional safe space and range of community minded activities, including a community fridge; a ‘Library of Things’, regular repair café, seed bank, book, boardgame and jigsaw swaps, skill share and litter picking sessions, and a huge community garden. The Hub is housed in a 200-year-old former stable block but the lighting is old and ineffective.
Founder and director Mick Tumilty said: “After almost two years of isolation due to lockdowns, local people wanted to feel part of something, needed a focus and a reason to recreate that sense of community and we have been blown away at how the Hub took off and how many people use it. Winning this lighting installation from Ansell will really help us to achieve our plans, to do more evening activities and to do so much more for the community.”
The Shine A Light campaign genuinely did just that – it shone a light on the efforts and commitment of normal people who go the extra mile to help others and make their communities a better place.
With the UK facing a tough winter and many challenges it was heartwarming to hear from these amazing projects and we are looking forward to seeing the transformation of the Elmbridge Community Eco Hub when its new lighting is in place.
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