This week, as part of our Employer Partner Spotlight series, we catch up with our Soho neighbour Matt Smith – Head of Sustainability at Shaftesbury PLC. As key supporters of our Employment Academy, Matt explains how Shaftesbury’s continued support enables us to deliver our mission of providing good work to our community, whilst also ensuring that we keep our Grade I listed building Covid-secure throughout the pandemic.
Tell us about your business
Shaftesbury owns and manages a 16-acre area in the liveliest parts of London’s West End, including Carnaby, Seven Dials and Chinatown, together with ownerships in East and West Covent Garden, Soho and Fitzrovia.
Our portfolio, which comprises restaurants, cafés, pubs and shops, extending to apartments and offices, means we get to work with a diverse range of businesses and people.
My particular focus is leading the on-going development and implementation of Shaftesbury’s sustainability strategy. This involves working with colleagues from across the business and with partners in our local community to achieve our aspiration to have a positive environmental and social impact.
How long has Shaftesbury been associated with House of St Barnabas and why did you get involved?
We were a founding member of House of St Barnabas when it opened as a private members club in 2013. We wanted to support a truly exceptional charity and neighbour, whose unique approach to training and employment was set to have a positive impact on so many people.
Shaftesbury is committed to supporting the communities it is part of and, in some cases, this can be best achieved by helping to amplify what is being done by organisations such as the House. Doing so can help secure additional funding, new partners, or simply reach more people in the community that need support.
How do you work with House of St Barnabas?
Since 2015, we have sponsored the House’s Employment Academy, supporting programmes to upskill people and help them gain employment.
Since Covid-19, we have been able to work even closer with the team. Initially, we supported the reopening of the House for their employees, but have also worked this year working to refurbish their garden area to meet Covid-19 requirements as restrictions lifted and businesses were able to re-open.
We are also keen to connect our local business network with staffing and recruitment resources, such as the House’s Employment Preparation Programme. Doing so creates new relationships that support the long-term prosperity of the community whilst helping local businesses find great people.
Reflecting our wider role in the West End, we also promote House’s events via the This is Soho social media channels and hold events and panels there ourselves, including our upcoming Community Partners Breakfast later this month.
What is the most rewarding element of your work with House of St Barnabas?
Knowing that Shaftesbury is actively supporting the community and organisations like the House matters a great deal. Playing a small role to help people access resources and take a significant step forward is something we value very highly.
Interested in becoming an Employer Partner? Find out more – here.