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The top firms tackling social issues across the City of London have been recognised at this year's Dragon Awards, hosted by Lord Mayor Peter Estlin.

Firms boosting UK social mobility and helping LGBT+ refugees build a better future are among this year’s winners of the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards – the Capital’s top responsible business gongs.

They were honoured at an awards dinner at Mansion House, where the winners received a prestigious ‘Dragon’ from Peter Estlin, the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

The scheme, run by the City of London Corporation, celebrates firms of all sizes and from all sectors who are tackling social problems in London and the UK. This year’s applicants supported over 2.5m people across the UK, helping communities, charities and local enterprises and investing £32m.

They mobilised 55,000 business volunteers who contributed over 194,000 hours to community groups, schools and individuals across the UK. This year has seen a huge variety of winners, from global investment businesses to legal firms, and from charities to architecture companies. Here’s who walked away with a prize:

The Innovation Award

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP for its ‘Micro Rainbow’ scheme. The legal firm has teamed up with Micro Rainbow to open the UK’s first ever safe-house for LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers. The initiative runs on volunteer work, financial support and pro-bono legal advice. Since 2017, the partnership has supported 37 homeless LGBT+ asylum seekers into safe housing.

Boosting Social Impact Award

Mace Group for its ‘Volunteering for Better Communities’ initiative. Mace works with its supply chain and volunteers to create group community projects in the built environment. Each partner offers a part of the work as pro-bono, or makes material donations. Projects include the refurbishment of a children’s charity café, mock interview and CV writing classes across London and running the Mace Science Club, an after-school STEM club managed by Mace staff.

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The Mace Group doesn’t just throw money at a problem, their staff actually roll up their sleeves and get involved

Lord Mayor’s Award for Leadership in Digital Skills

Nominet plc & Livity for its ‘Nominet Digital Neighbourhood’ scheme. The programme works with 18-25-year-olds across the UK. Participants take part in training days with a qualified expert in digital skills including marketing, website build, social media analytics, and Google Adwords. Participants are then matched with local SMEs in a paid placement.

Regional Impact Award

Standard Life Aberdeen, for its ‘Investing in Better Futures’ programme. The scheme supports youth employment and social mobility, helping people from all backgrounds to progress to a better future through meaningful jobs. Its inclusive employment programmes include  Get Hired!, partnership with the Prince’s Trust, a direct school leaver employment programme and a national partnership with Career Ready UK.

The Inclusive Employment Award

K&M McLoughlin Decorating Ltd for its ‘Skills for Jobs’ initiative. The programme is a four-week pre-employment course helping people to get jobs in the construction industry. Developing individual employment skills, the firm has created a network of London companies in the industry who want to take on apprentices and older workers. They also work with two local schools running short courses as an introduction to construction.

Community Partners Award

IntoUniversity for its partnership with UBS. The partnership helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain university places. UBS has supported IntoUniversity though funding, fundraising, volunteering, strategic support, and sponsoring events.

Heart of the City Award

Formation Architects for its ‘Formation Community’ outreach programme. Its CSR scheme has 22 volunteers who have dedicated over 3,000 hours to fundraising and pro-bono activity since it began in 2017. The firm has supported the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust through fundraising events, running the Big Vitality Half Marathon, encouraged payroll giving, and by providing work placements and workshops as part of its ‘Building Futures’ programme.

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Formation Architects won an award for their Formation Community initiative

Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said: “London’s firms are going the extra mile to make a difference, and through their responsible business programmes they are benefitting society and staff at the same time.

“Businesses are thinking out of the box to see how they can make the most of the skillsets and the resources they have to change people’s lives for the better.

“It’s important we recognise and celebrate the fantastic work which many firms are doing. Responsible business is no longer simply about engaging with local communities, it is about building a future workforce and creating a better and fairer society.”

The awards attract high-quality applications from a variety of organisations across London- from SMEs to big City firms. Previous Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award winners have reported winning new contracts, improved internal relationships, stronger reputations and increased PR.

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