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“It’s Our Communities That Will Guide Us Through This” Says British Land

Anna Devlet British Land
06 April 2020 | Updated 07 April 2020

Anna Devlet, Head of Community at British Land, writes about the importance of community at this time, and how the power of local partnerships with suppliers, colleagues and customers will help people now and in the future.


Connecting communities


Like so many of us, my conception of time has completely shifted. Yesterday now feels like last year. During these unprecedented times, I want to thank everyone in our local communities for the incredible work they are doing. It is an unsettling time for all of us and I am deeply thankful for the inspirational response of our suppliers, colleagues, local partners and customers.

We’ve been privileged to have built some incredible local relationships with amazing community partners over the years, which is down to their focus and hard work. The power of those partnerships is really coming into its own at this moment. Combined with our deep relationships with suppliers and customers, it means we can act meaningfully, responding to local needs.

Across all our places, we are looking at how we can connect communities with our suppliers and customers to strengthen the support networks underway. As one example, together with ELBA, we’ve shifted the focus of our Broadgate Connect partnership, which has been supporting east Londoners into employment with our suppliers and customers since 2012. We’re now contacting all the individuals we’ve placed in jobs in the last year, signposting and offering help, and directing them to new areas where there are shortages, like couriers, packing and food deliveries. 

There are also many examples across our whole team of people working and caring for each other at our places. Rob Stickland, our Portfolio Director at Paddington, was straight in touch with the local hospital, made car parking spaces available for NHS staff and offered office spaces for respite and welfare.

We’ve doubled our annual donation to Shelter’s helpline, which is responding to a sharp increase in calls from people at risk of homelessness as a result of coronavirus. And we’ve allocated extra funding for our Community Managers to support local organisations. We’re focusing our efforts on existing partners who we have lasting relationships with and who are best positioned to have the greatest impact on our local communities.

For every community programme already underway, we’re asking our partners what support they need right now and how we can best help people in this current situation. We’re also exploring what we can do together in the coming months to help people prepare for the future, when we do start to emerge from this crisis. 

As ever, it is our communities that will guide us through this. Thanks to each and every one of you for all your support.

Picture: Anna Devlet, Head of Community at British Land, writes about the importance of community at this time, and how the power of local partnerships with suppliers, colleagues and customers will help people now and in the future.

Article written by Anna Devlet | Published 06 April 2020


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