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edition 12 (236)
December 2018
Eurobuild Awards

Kind hearts and statuettes

How corporate social responsibility is recognised at the Eurobuild Awards

Tomasz Cudowski

Kind hearts and statuettes
“A business without a pro-community approach would just become a callous, thoughtless profitmaking machine,” claims Tadeusz Jachowicz of Gleeds

The dictionary definition of corporate social responsibility (CSR) could evoke something rather formal and not that friendly. But when put into action, its activities are notable for their human warmth and contribution to society. Due to the success of the concept, there are now an increasing number of companies and individuals to choose from for the Eurobuild Award for Outstanding Non-Business Achievement of the Year

The charity partner for the Eurobuild Awards this year is Gleeds. This is a company that has many CSR campaigns under its belt, including annual charity events and is known for the support it provides for a children’s home. “We are completely aware of the role we play in our environment and the impact that business can have on the community we live in,” explains Tadeusz Jachowicz, the regional director for Central and Eastern Europe at Gleeds. “Youngsters will eventually live, work and have families, so we have been supporting children and young people for years, believing that in this way we can teach them that it is necessary to take responsibility in the community you work in, regardless of which sector you may operate in, the size of your company or its status. As a result, each generation will grow up with respecti for local environment and the people they live with,” he adds, insisting that CSR is not only an essential part of Gleeds International’s culture but it is also evident in its team’s awareness and willingness to help. “A business without a pro-community approach would become a callous, thoughtless profit-making machine, unconcerned about consequences that have the most impact on the weakest members of society. The pro-community approach helps to balance things out, as it is a method of paying off the debt that businesses have incurred with our world over many years, before the formulation of CSR goals,” concludes Tadeusz Jachowicz.

Gleeds is the patron of the Outstanding Non-Business Achievement of the Year category – a distinction devised for recognising unusual ventures, which vary in terms of their character and scale, but have a common denominator: their initiators are not indifferent to the disadvantaged and do not regard helping them as an obligation but as a privilege. Several such initiatives are in the running for the Eurobuild Award statuette and the winner will be chosen in a direct vote by guests of the Gala on December 5th.

The most expensive Maluch in the world

The ‘Bielsko-Biała for Tom Hanks’ campaign is particularly popular among the nominees (and not only in our country). However, the charity campaign, which has raised almost PLN 120,000 for a children's hospital in Bielsko-Biała, actually started with a joke. In 2016, while making a film in Hungary, Tom Hanks took a picture of himself with a Fiat 126p, which he published on Instagram. Monika Jaskólska, a social activist based in Bielsko-Biała, saw the post and came up with the idea of raising money to buy and restore the Fiat – and then to send it to the actor as a gift. The Gemini Park Bielsko-Biała shopping centre and television station TVN later joined the initiative, giving the campaign even more momentum. Rafał Sonik, the owner of Bielsko Gemini Park, decided to pick up entire the cost of buying and renovating the car, so all the funds raised (from a large number of donors and special campaigns) were paid into the hospital’s account. This is the first time a charity initiative by a Polish shopping centre has been covered by the international media (including the BBC, NBC and The Telegraph).

“Sending the Fiat 126p to Tom Hanks is the most spectacular social campaign we have ever taken part in – making headlines in Poland and abroad – but it’s not the only project we have been happy to be involved in,” reveals Krzysztof Brączek, the director of Gemini Park Bielsko-Biała. “We work with many charities, associations and organisations, as well as the city, three women’s and men’s football and volleyball clubs and community events organisers a daily basis,” he adds. The largest local event held by Gemini Park in 2018 was the Bielska Dyszka charity run, which 700 runners took part in. The funds raised are for the renovation of a day-care centre and the construction of a sensory playground for children in the new centre of the Imperium Sportu foundation (a co-organiser of the run). Gemini Park also cooperates closely with the University of Bielsko-Biała, with which the Kazimiera Alberti Skwer Poetów project was established. The company also regularly takes part in the Let’s Clean the Beskids mountains campaign. “Through all of these activities we want to emphasise that we are from here, from Bielsko-Biała, and the interests of the residents are close to our hearts,” insists Krzysztof Brączek.

Supporting kids in and outside the hospital

The next nominee in this category is StarNet, with whose help every patient and guest of the Children’s Memorial Health Institute in Warsaw has had free internet access since last April. To achieve this, the hospital has been fitted with almost 80 antennas and other installations. The system has been issued with all the certificates required by medical facilities to confirm that it in no way interferes with the hospital’s specialist equipment. More than 700 people connected to the Wi-Fi network on the day the service was launched. “Staying in a hospital is stressful for children and parents, so we try to provide our young patients with a variety of things to do to take their minds off all the tests and treatment. Access to the internet will not only make the children’s free time more pleasant but it will also make it easier for them to keep in touch with their relatives,” claims Katarzyna Gardzińska, a spokesman for the Children's Memorial Health Institute. “I spend a lot of time in the clinic with my son, where I quickly realised what the patients were missing, many of whom are bedridden. Television is now not enough on its own, since access to the internet is indispensible these days. I hope that the work we have done will be of great benefit to the patients and their families,” says Piotr Dąbroś, the CEO of StarNet Telecom.

Textbook accessibility

The next nominee in the Outstanding Non- Business Achievement of the Year category is ‘Włącznik’ – the first, non-profit publication devoted to the concept of ​​barrier-free design – essential reading for all those who want to make sure their buildings are accessible for everyone. Contemporary design has to take into account the needs of all users, by integrating them into a common, democratic space. ‘Włącznik’ is a publication that is not satisfied with the minimum legal requirements and explains universal design step-by-step – according to the description of the publication. In ten chapters, Kamil Kowalski, an experienced designer and licensed architectural accessibility assesssor, guides the reader through the accessible design process – from the location of the building and its relationship with the environment, through creating friendly common space, to the detailed parameters for the movement of different user groups, including those with different kinds of disabilities. The handbook is issued by the Integration Foundation and Skanska, while the graphic design is the work of the Takie Pany collective. The publication is free of charge and an electronic version can be downloaded from the Integration Foundation’s website.

Hollywood actor Tom Hanks has now taken proud possession of a Fiat 126

A spark of hope

As usual, all the funds raised at this year's Eurobuild Awards Gala will be donated to the Iskierka Foundation, which we have supported for several years. The money raised at last year’s Gala went towards paying for children suffering from cancer and their parents to go on holiday together in Karpacz, while specialist diagnostic equipment used in neurosurgical operations was donated to the Upper Silesian Children’s Health Centre in Katowice. On Children’s Day this year, a group of children with carers travelled from Silesia to Warsaw for a few days to visit the city as well as to look down upon the capital from the top of some of its tallest buildings. “The aim of this year’s fundraising is to co-finance the purchase of modern ultrasound equipment for the Multispecialty Diagnostic and Therapeutic Centre in Paediatrics and Oncology of the Municipal Hospital in Chorzów as well as a trip for the beneficiaries as part of the 2019 summer campaign. Sick children and their families can receive some very effective support through joint activities and those aimed at building trust,” explains Jolanta Siwecka-Czernicka, the president of the Iskierka Foundation.

At this year’s gala, which will be held on December 5th at the Warsaw DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, a unique portrait by renowned photographer Tomek Sikora is to be auctioned. The starting price will be PLN 2,000. In addition to this, an original bottle of Italian wine has been kindly donated for the silent auction by Robert Mielżyński, who has been supporting our charity activities for several years. The starting price for the 9-litre bottle of fine 2008 Collazzi wine has been set at PLN 3,000, with the final price to be announced on December 5th at the Gala after 9:30 pm. Guests will also be able to enter the lottery to win a weekend at the Marriott hotel.

We would like to thank all our friends and business partners involved in our charity activities. We invite everyone to the Gala and encourage you to enter the bidding! ν

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