British Land aims to implement its Community Charter at all major properties by 2015. This includes building local relationships and addressing local issues, such as that of young carers in Westminster who have been supported by the art: space project.
- In 2012, community activities at British Land properties and Head Office generated positive media coverage worth in excess of £300,000.
- British Land benefit from local support, which is an essential part of the planning process and part of their licence to operate. Developing good relationships through projects like art:space has helped British Land build up to a current £1.4 billion capital commitment to developments.
- 85% of young carers said the workshops had made them feel more confident.
- 95% of young carers felt they’d learned new ideas and skills.
- British Land’s long-term commitment has helped Create to leverage £42,400 in additional funding, enabling it to extend its young carers programme to five new areas in 2012.
British Land chose to engage with the issue of young carers because the 2001 census showed over 400 children in Westminster were caring for a parent or sibling with a physical illness, disability, mental illness or substance abuse problem. Research shows that this is a serious, and often hidden, issue with many negative impacts on young carers, such as underachievement, absenteeism at school and mental or physical ill health.
British Land works with a charity partner, Create, to develop individually-tailored programmes with the relevant young carers' services, who have specialist local knowledge. Create, local carer service staff, artists and British Land volunteers participate in the workshops, so children are well supported and have individual attention. British Land has regular contact with Create about the project.
Over the last six years, through art:space, British Land has given over 320 vulnerable young people the chance to enjoy an array of creative activities, working alongside professional artists. The project has expanded to Camden and Hackney and increased the number of carers reached.
art:space aims to help young carers:
Develop supportive relationships with peers
Explore their creativity
Grow in self-confidence and develop trust
Enhance life skills such as teamwork and communication
British Land has committed to £185,000 of funding since 2008/09 and almost all British Land staff are engaged with its community programme. Staff receive up to two days’ paid leave for volunteering.