Corporate Social Responsibility: Back to Business “Fight or flight in a Covid World?”

Date: 22 October 2020
Time: 00:00 - 00:00
Location: Online (Zoom)
Training & Events

Charitable organisations are keen to continue to develop meaningful partnerships with local businesses to diversify their incomes streams and receive gifts in kind. Should they reconsider their approach in light of Covid-19 or is it business as usual?

UPDATE: This event is now fully booked. For a place on the waiting list please contact Keith Johnson at

Rachel Briant of Get Synergised in partnership with Hunts Forum and Support Cambridgeshire will be in conversation with three people from the business community to discuss the narratives emerging around Corporate Social Responsibility / Giving Back and the challenges businesses might be facing in this current crisis.

Through the conversation, we will:

  • Gain an understanding of the current challenges facing businesses in keeping their CSR activities going and how this may affect the charity and community sector
  • Understand the benefits that community investment can bring to business, to charities and to our communities
  • If we need to, know how to adapt the community approach for better results in the current climate

We will hear from James Zimmer Smith, Store Manager at Metro Bank Cambridge, Neil Bharadwa, owner of the Cambridge Fruit Company and Faye Holland, Founder of Cofinitive and Chair of Cambridge and South Cambs Chamber. There will be an opportunity for delegates to ask questions after the discussion. The session will conclude with four key takeaways for charitable organisations to consider as they look to build meaningful and sustainable partnerships with the business community.

Cost: Free to community organisations and charities in Cambridgeshire.

Information and Booking: To find out more and to book a place please email

About the Chair

Rachel Briant

Founder, Get Synergised

Rachel Briant is a female entrepreneur and the mastermind behind Get Synergised, a bespoke consultancy and project management service established to enable the business, voluntary, charitable and public sectors to collaborate for greater social impact.

Highly skilled at building effective partnerships and a natural collaborator, Rachel provides strategic thinking, internal audits, presentations, project management and online workshops for all sectors, driven by the conviction that working together we are a powerful catalyst for change.

Rachel inspires others to leverage resource to help build sustainable and resilient communities, in turn addressing some of the most pressing social issues of our time. Rachel works to ensure that Corporate Social Responsibility practices and approaches to giving back and collaboration are embedded and aligned within any organisational strategy. Drawing on her 20 years combined experience in all sectors, Rachel is motivated and passionate about connecting people, empowering others and making a difference.

When Rachel isn’t working, she’s excitedly planning for her wedding in December 2020. But if she’s not planning or creating, you can find her browsing the shops or just stopping for a coffee, a favourite pastime to relax, pause and just watch the world go by!

About the Panel

Faye Holland

Founder, Cofinitive Ltd

Faye Holland is founder of Cofinitive Ltd, a PR and communications company based in Cambridge which is listed as one of the Top 10 Image Makers in 2019. With experience ranging from global product launches to engaging at the highest level of Government, Faye’s experience includes strategy, marketing, PR, branding and engagement. Faye has been described as “one of the UK’s prime marketing strategists” and has been listed as one of the UK’s Most Influential Women in Tech by Computer Weekly.

As an entrepreneur and business owner, Faye is passionate about the pay-it-forward movement – each employee of the company is responsible for a pro-bono activity, they are avid supporters of local and regional charities by providing advice, introductions and where possible, funding; educating the next generation; and engaging with the communities where we live and work.

Faye is on the Business Board of the region’s Combined Authority and chairs the Cambridge & South Cambs Committee of the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce. She also co-founded and runs Impact Women’s Network and is the regional champion for EngageEast.

James Zimmer-Smith

Store Manager, Metro Bank Cambridge

James joined Metro Bank in 2014 and has been in the retail banking sector for a decade, working across East Anglia and the South East of England.

Metro Bank is committed to being the UK’s best community bank. This is achieved by enabling their people to support and engage with their local communities; giving everyone five days a year to volunteer and support numerous local events.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis the bank has given colleagues additional time to support a wide range of COVID-related charities. It has continued to open bank accounts for new community groups and charities despite the challenges of lockdown. It has been a hugely busy, difficult yet rewarding year and James is grateful to his team for working so hard for their customers throughout.

Outside work you can find James on the golf course, squash court or walking his black lab. For the last few years he has organised a charity golf tournament which continues to be both great fun and very successful.

Photo: Julian Eales

Neil Bharadwa

Founder, Cambridge Fruit Company

Neil Bharadwa launched the Cambridge Fruit Company in 2005, a successful business supplying fresh fruit and veg to workplaces across Cambridgeshire. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, they supplied over 150 businesses, including offices, restaurants, pubs, cafes and schools. In March 2020, as Covid-19 hit and everything closed, Neil and the Cambridge Fruit Company were close to losing everything, their sales virtually disappeared overnight and their world collapsed.

Neil had to respond quickly. He set about pivoting The Cambridge Fruit Company to serve customers’ homes to regain some of his trade. Customers ordered fruit and veg boxes for their homes, but generosity and acts of kindness prevailed and as a result customers started ordering extra boxes for those in need. Customers were matching their orders by donating another box to charity – namely the Red Hen Project based in the North of Cambridge, as well as donating fruit and veg boxes to the NHS frontline staff.

Over the last six months the Cambridge Fruit Company has sent hundreds of boxes to families in need and the NHS as well as keeping their business alive. In August, Neil and his team were recognised by Her Majesty The Queen’s Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire due to the amazing contribution that have made to the city, delivering 1,500 donated fruit and veg boxes. So here they are today, moving forward, serving their community and building their future for the next chapter.

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