Social Inclusion News: Allianz Chooses School of Hard Knocks as Charity Partner

The logo of Europe's biggest insurer Allianz SE is seen on the company tower at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen/File Photo

As part of its commitment to giving back to the local Croydon community, Allianz Partners UK has chosen School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) as its 2019 charity partner. SOHK uses high impact sport, including rugby and boxing, to help school pupils and unemployed adults at risk of exclusion or low educational attainment, to build self-esteem and employment prospects.

The partnership forms part of Allianz Partners’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, ‘Dare to Care’.  Charities across the UK, but represented in Croydon, were invited to apply for support from Allianz Partners in 2019, with Allianz employees voting on their charity of choice. SOHK, as the chosen charity, will receive help from fundraising activities and awareness campaigns throughout 2019, as well as mentoring and tutorials from Allianz representatives.

The first project Allianz Partners undertook with SOHK was a combination of boxing sessions followed by self-development workshops which took place over 8-weeks at Allianz’s Croydon offices. With the help of volunteers from Allianz Partners the course was aimed at equipping 12 women in the local area with the crucial skills they need to tackle obstacles in their lives affecting their future development – whether that’s problems with finance, language barriers or mental health problems – and included how to prepare for and successfully participate in a job interview.

Maureen Stapley, HR Director at Allianz Partners UK comments, “We have been based in Croydon for nearly 40 years, throughout which we have worked with a variety of charities who support much needed local initiatives.  SOHK offers promise to those who struggle when faced with overcoming situations which could be positively life changing. I know I speak for a lot of our employees when I say that we are very much looking forward to helping local community members work towards a brighter future.

“The first activity involved 12 Allianz Partners employees putting their gloves to the test when they joined a boxing session with SOHK participants. This was followed by the group undertaking practical job interview training to gain the skills and confidence needed to tackle a real interview scenario. This concluded in a formal interview in front of a panel of Allianz Partners volunteers. A graduation ceremony was held for the group to recognize and reward their efforts and the new skills that they have learnt. This was a fantastic opportunity for all those involved and we can’t wait to continue our role in boosting future employment prospects for those living in Croydon.”

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