Community spirit shown by local busineses will be celebrated at the inaugural Croydon Business Awards later this year.
The Commitment to the Community category, sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance, is a particularly hotly contested competition at this year's awards which culminate in a black-tie Gala Dinner and Charity Ball at Fairfield Halls on Thursday, October 1.
The companies in contention for this prestigious prize are:
Amicus Horizon: A charitable housing association which provides homes for 60,000 people in 28,000 affordable homes across the south-east. In the past year in Croydon it has created a community garden in Dagmar Road, helped 98 young people to be job-ready, taken 24 people into employment, engaged 63 volunteers in its business and helped 39 people to start their own business as well as working with 316 young local people in a variety of activities.
Caridon Property: A Croydon-based business which owns, builds and manages residential property across London. The company houses re-offenders upon their release from prison, helping them to be rehabilitated and get back into employment, as well as housing a host of vulnerable people including mentally ill, disabled, street homeless, women who have suffered domestic violence and families with young children threatened with street homelessness.
John Ruskin College: A designated Sixth Form college offering a major vocational curriculum which provides 600 apprenticeships in a variety of frameworks to local employers. A new traineeship scheme designed to tackle to NEET issue in Croydon has had a high success rate while a local community project called Good Food Matters has seen around 70 full-time learners plant and grow fruit and vegetables.
Matthews Yard: An arts, cultural and community space in the centre of Croydon which hosts dozens of community groups each year. During three years in business, owner Saif Bonar and his team have worked tirelessly to build a viable business delivering real value to the community, hosting groups as diverse as Club Soda, Croydon Mencap, Croydon Tech City, Croydon Arts Network, Croydon Radio, Croydon Citizen and Croydon Spanish Group.
Phase 1 Enterprise Training: A community interest company providing family-friendly co-working space, business support and childcare, tailored to the needs of female entrepreneurs. Over three years, Phase 1 has supported more than 200 businesses in Croydon and offers free expert business and employability sessions at the centre and in local libraries, as well as 12 free hours of support to women-led tech businesses.
Streets Ahead Estate Agents: A Croydon-based estate agent offering sales, residential lettings, commercial property and property management. Streets Ahead has raised thousands of pounds for Nightwatch and other causes throughout the borough and events during 2015 have included sponsorship of the Croydon Half Marathon, a charity golf tournament, football tournament, Palace to Paris bike ride, Nuts Assault Course challenge and charity ball.
Allianz Global Resistance has its own corporate social responsibility programme called Allianz4Good which benefits projects which are important to its employees.
Serge Corel, chief executive officer of Allianz Global Assistance in the UK, said: "As a large local employer ourselves, we strongly believe that businesses have a duty to put something back into supporting their local area.
"Sponsoring the Commitment to the Community category is yet another way to support the area and demonstrate our own commitment to, and investment in, this exciting and burgeoning borough."
Other supporters of the awards are Croydon Advertiser, Croydon Business Ventre, Croydon Chamber of Commerce, London Borough of Croydon, Handelsbanken, Interchange Croydon, Lark, Sussex Innovation Croydon, Wing Yip and Veolia.
Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Croydon Business Excellence Awards. For more details on the awards visit www.croydonawards.co.uk
To book your place at the big night visit www.participant.co.uk/croydonawards