An app which mobilised volunteers to shop for vulnerable people during the pandemic is among the winners in London’s top responsible business gongs.
Described as an ‘Uber for volunteers’, onHand, which matches volunteers with projects in need of help, won the Lord Mayor’s Award for Innovation During COVID-19 in the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards.
The company is one of six winners in the awards, held every year by the City of London Corporation to recognise businesses which build strong community relationships, tackle disadvantage or inequality, promote inclusion or boost skills.
The winning schemes include an online tutoring platform to help children with their maths skills during lockdown and an initiative aimed at building skills in young people.
The winners were announced on Thursday evening (29) at a ‘virtual’ awards ceremony from Mansion House hosted by Lord Mayor William Russell and businessman and former Apprentice winner Tim Campbell.
Lord Mayor William Russell said: “This extraordinary year has presented enormous challenges for individuals and organisations across London and the UK, and has highlighted more than ever the important role businesses can play in working for the benefit of their communities.
“I was really impressed with the innovative, creative and impactful ways companies, which have themselves faced difficult times during the pandemic, have given their time and effort to help make a positive impact on people’s lives.”
The onHand app launched in Lambeth, in partnership with Lambeth Council, Age UK and the British Red Cross. It has helped deliver shopping to thousands of elderly, vulnerable or shielding people in the borough who couldn’t get out, and is now running across the country.
onHand CEO Sanjay Lobo said: “The feedback from the people we’ve been able to help has been fantastic – we’ve had people calling us in tears or leaving handwritten notes for volunteers. At a time when they weren’t able to have any physical contact, this was a vital way for people to have some human interaction.
“The success of schemes like this shows the huge amount of goodwill that exists across the UK. Winning this award is really humbling and builds on the incredible momentum building for businesses doing good and delivering profit with purpose.”
WeAgile, a Shoreditch-based digital creative studio whose mantra is ‘Digital used for Good’, won the Heart of the City Award for its free online tutoring platform which delivered maths lessons to hundreds of year five and six children during the first and second lockdowns.
WeAgile Co-founder Monshur Ali said: “I’d highly recommend that companies support responsible business and deliver it from the top down – we instantly felt like the whole company was on board and wanted to play their part in this programme.
“It’s been a difficult time for all businesses but the entire team wanted to do their part and support the local community. To win a Dragon Award means a feeling of jubilation for everyone at WeAgile who put aside their own struggles and focused on going the extra mile to help others.”
The Bethnal Green-based Skills Builder Partnership won the Community Partners Award for its work with financial services giant UBS while Westminster-based management consultancy Q5 was a winner in the Boosting Social Impact Award category for its support for charities and small businesses during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, City-based analytics firm TrueCue won the Inclusive Employment Award for a project aimed at driving up representation of women in the sector, while global professional services company Marsh McLennan won the Regional Impact Award for its work with young refugees and asylum seekers in Birmingham and Leeds.
This year’s awards were organised for the first time by Heart of the City, the City Corporation-funded charity which supports hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises with their responsible business programmes.
The awards are part of the City Corporation’s commitment to work in partnership with businesses, charities and neighbouring boroughs to create a more responsible, inclusive and competitive London.
More information, along with videos of the award-winning schemes, is available at www.dragonawards.org.uk