The Kindness Economy – How local businesses are giving back to their communities #BeKindDudley

April 22, 2022
Published by Eileen

There are businesses across our wonderful borough and beyond that support and engage with a huge range of causes. It may be that their staff collect supplies for the local food bank, or donate a day of their time to local causes, sorting donations of clothing, or household supplies for those with nothing.

As the development officer at our Volunteer Centre, I’m often asked to broker team challenges for teams of employees to engage with local voluntary and community groups, which is an absolute pleasure. Groups can access much-needed support to get things done, such as gardening, decorating, helping to put on an event, and employees get an opportunity to connect with the vibrant local voluntary, community and faith sector, seeing things from a different perspective and raising awareness of social/community challenges.

Many of these challenges lead to longer-term relationships too. A prime example was a local wholesale warehouse, Makro, where I brokered a team challenge with a local school for children and young people with special educational needs. The staff team worked alongside school staff and children to build a sensory garden and refurbish an outdoor classroom building. Following this activity, the staff from the warehouse offered support with job application skills, interview experience, and ‘Dragons Den’ style sessions to build confidence. Some of the students made craft items and sold their creations to customers every Saturday from 10-1 in the Makro store, giving them even more life skills.

“…the Kindness Economy is about reimagining how we do business and, as Portas puts it, considers ‘giving back to people and the planet as important as making a profit.” Clementine Barnes, Bambuddha

Business Ambassadors can change lives

Businesses are often at very different stages in their journey of engaging with a cause, and others are well established and organised in their support.

Brett Harris and his team at Blaze Hair in Kingswinford has been the Business Ambassador to a local children’s charity for ten years. He’s won a couple of awards for this but he’s not doing it for recognition, he’s doing it because he wants to make an impact on local children. He connects with family, friends, customers and local businesses to raise the profile of the charity, and generate new connections and donations.

Brett was also recently filmed by Dudley Council’s Business First team as a notable example of a small business with strong social values.

Listen to Brett’s story here:


Higgs LLP is a local law firm based in Brierley Hill which has actively contributed to its local community.

This year Tim Jones from Higgs LLP is supporting the #BeKindDudley campaign and has kindly shared his story on the Kindness Economy and encourages other businesses to think of ways they could give back to their community.

‘This year is the year to BE KIND!’ 

“I suspect it is approaching 15 years now since I was asked by Business in the Community to support their peer learning group in Dudley, which became known as Synergy.

At that time, I had responsibility for corporate social responsibility within the practice. Synergy took me and my colleagues on a fabulous journey to understand what private business could offer the third sector, and vice versa.

Synergy brought together 12 charities and CICs to discuss their journey and share best practice. In the early years, I was greatly assisted by David Darlaston, and then toward the end of my term, I was fortunate to connect with Andy Mullaney – who will be known to many!

We had many successes, and many challenges over the years that Synergy run, but it was truly wonderful to witness the collaboration and support offered by those in the group to one another.

At the same time, we started to get active within our community, and in raising money for so many great causes.

Fundraising has always been an integral part of what we do… and in the pre-pandemic years, we were able to raise in excess of £20,000 per annum, which given that we are a business of circa 200 employees now, is truly phenomenal. However, at the heart of what we have done, is to take an active part in supporting our community.

Helping at our local primary school with maths and reading; tackling a gardening project for a centre; painting a mural; taking part in sports days; and looking after nature and habitat… The list is endless, but on each occasion, the common thread was our community.

I still remember as if it was yesterday, our very first community project at High Flyers in Wombourne.

Our goal was to create a beautiful garden in one day!

A dozen of my colleagues came together; the day was agreed; allegedly a beautiful sunny day in June they said! We arrived early to be greeted by torrential rain! It took a while to get going, and for those taking part in the project to get to know one another.

By mid-morning, we had managed to use all of the teabags, and eat all of the biscuits that the Centre had been kind enough to offer.

I went to the supermarket to replenish their cupboards and returned at lunchtime to see all of my colleagues sitting down together, laughing, joking and sharing lunch. That to me is one of the greatest outcomes of community projects. People really getting to know each other as individuals and on a different level, and at the same time helping the community.

I have said to many in my business that we should view ourselves as being fortunate. We work in comfortable offices, and we are well paid. With this, however, comes a responsibility and a duty.

That duty is to give back to our communities… and have fun in doing so at the same time!

I encourage all businesses to think about what they can do to make our community a better place for all.

We are supporting the #BeKindDudley campaign this year, and have some 12 or more projects that we are looking to enjoy.

This year is the year to BE KIND!”

Call to action for businesses

If you are a business seeking to do something in your local community please get in touch. Eileen from our Volunteer Centre has been brokering team challenges for many years and would be happy to help. Please get in touch:

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