1 June 2020

Forsters signs the COVID-19 Business Pledge

Forsters signed up to the COVID-19 Business Pledge as part of the firm’s ongoing commitment to support all key stakeholders through the Coronavirus crisis.

The initiative encourages organisations from all sectors to join the international coronavirus effort by pledging to help their employees, clients and communities through the crisis.

By signing up to the pledge Forsters is committing to back the three main objectives built around employees, clients and communities, to help address the immediate challenges of coronavirus, but also to assist with the aftermath.

  • Firstly, to support Forsters' partners and employees throughout and beyond this challenging time.
  • Secondly, to publish clear and simple advice for our clients.
  • Thirdly, being proactive in helping communities through the epidemic.

The importance of supporting our employees, clients and the community at all times has always been at the heart of Forsters' culture. As the pandemic took a foothold, the firm quickly leveraged its resources to support those most in need. We have set out below details of the support we are providing along with details of our planned activities:

  • We have provided ongoing guidance to partners and staff regarding steps they should take to protect the health and wellbeing of both themselves and their families. This has included delivering a series of virtual wellbeing webinars, the provision of one-to-one counselling, access to resources such as a 24 hour employee assistance programme and support from a team of mental health first aiders.
  • We have launched a dynamic Volunteering and Pro Bono policy which takes into account CSR activities during lockdown. We are encouraging all staff to engage with a critical part of this policy that provides for a CSR day which enables them to volunteer or carry out pro bono work within the community or for charitable institutions that are supporting COVID-19 related issues.
  • We continue to work with the charity, St Andrew's Club, which has transformed into a virtual club for its members during the pandemic. In addition to providing continued financial support, Forsters are actively exploring how our support and existing initiatives can be adapted to an online format.
  • The Forsters Charitable Trust (a fund set up by the partners of the firm) has made a substantial grant to the Trussell Trust which runs food banks on a national basis. We are encouraging our people to nominate charities that are close to their hearts for donations from Forsters Charitable Trust, particularly those combatting COVID-19 or alleviating the suffering it is causing. Most recently this has led to a significant donation to Dare to Care Packages.
  • Our Thursday Lunch Club, where Forsters volunteers cook and serve a hot lunch for refugees in Westminster, is temporarily closed due to the lockdown. We continue to support some of the guests by taking food parcels to The St Martin's Trust and through donations to the St Martin in the Fields Trust.
  • Forsters' COVID-19 Hub, is a free online resource that provides individuals and organisations with up to date legal guidance and insights on COVID-19 related issues. The Hub brings together legal experts from across the firm to support our clients and the wider community on the legal issues impacted by the pandemic. This has included guidance in the form of FAQs and blogs on issues including domestic violence, wills and support available for charitable arts organisations.
  • We are in the process of formalising a strategy to support a number of domestic violence charities. Our overall objective is to provide support in the form of time and donations.

Kelly Noel-Smith, Partner and Head of CSR at Forsters commented: "Supporting those in need in our community has always been at the heart of our culture at Forsters. We recognised from the outset that our response to the COVID-19 pandemic had to go well beyond ensuring the continuity of our business:we have a responsibility to support staff, clients and those in the wider community and to try to alleviate some of the suffering, financial and otherwise, that the pandemic is causing.

It has been uplifting to see the collective response from the firm in terms of both financial assistance and hands on volunteering.. With the firm's resources and our fantastic staff, we are in a strong position to develop our initiatives that support the COVID-19 pledge."

Emily Exton, Managing Partner at Forsters commented: “COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our business and the society that we are working within. We are committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of our partners, staff and everybody we work with – clients, contacts and suppliers – but also want to do what we can for the wider community, consistent with our longstanding approach to Corporate Social Responsibility. We are proud to join the C-19 Business Pledge to demonstrate our commitment to tackling the effects of the current pandemic.

As these effects continue to be felt across the world and its communities, the business community needs to give thoughtful and appropriate consideration as to how it can help. Forsters will be working collaboratively with staff, clients and the community-based charities and initiatives we support to ensure that we are a force for good at this difficult time.”

If you are part of an organisation that would benefit from our support, please do get in touch with us.

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