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DBS Law – Connecting Business and Community
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DBS Heart’s mission to connect businesses with the communities they serve brings charitable causes and business ventures together across the East and West Midlands. The culmination of an enduring culture of social responsibility in the firm, DBS Heart has become a force for social change across the region, supporting the development of local charities, championing business and non-profit networking, and addressing the key challenges of community-corporate relationships in an increasingly networked world.
DBS Heart has been part of DBS Law’s company culture for over fifteen years, and has a strong history of supporting communities in the Midlands.
DBS Heart came from humble beginnings in 2001, when DBS Law chairman, Davy Bal, decided to make the most of some old office computers. Rather than throwing them away, we donated them in support of a local charity.
Since then, community work has been in our blood and is now central to our company culture and values. DBS Heart was established with the aim of bringing more to life, to connect businesses with the community. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to develop DBS Heart, forming partnerships with local and national charities and causes in order to give back to the communities we serve.
We have backed young businesses as a Midlands Lead Patron of The Prince’s Trust, saved lives with safety charities such as The Brain Tumour Charity, BRAKE and Midlands Air Ambulance, supported housing and growth in the community through partnership with Framework, and helped to give suffering children fantastic experiences with KidsOut.
In the past five years, we have developed road safety education projects with the Birmingham City Council, including school workshops, community outreach and, most notably, our Clock on to Safety concerts, which have taught over 3,000 children in Birmingham the importance of safety on the road. We are dedicated to supporting young entrepreneurs through our partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark in Birmingham, providing workshops and legal mentoring to allow the next generation of businesses to thrive.
DBS Heart belongs to our people, and each member of our team has contributed to these projects, whether through ideas, contribution of time, or dedicated fundraising. It has grown as a result of company-wide commitment, and we are very proud of what we have achieved in such a short time over the past few years. Being connected to the needs of our clients and our community has become very much a part of who we are and what we represent.
In 2014, we announced the growing moment of DBS Heart through our launch in the East Midlands, and this year we have seen DBS Heart grow into a CIC, with the unwavering support of prestigious patrons including Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, and Andy Foote, Chairman of The Brain Tumour Charity.
2015 saw the creation of our flagship monthly PULSE charity networking events which has seen hundreds of Midlands based professionals hear from a number of charities and have helped raise thousands of pounds for those charities including a £2,000 single donation to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.
2015 also saw the creation of the BLAST charity cricket tournament that raised £1,200 for road safety education in Birmingham thanks to our guests KPMG, No5 Chambers and Barclays Bank.
The launch of DBS Heart CIC last year attracted over 100 local business leaders and charity representatives.
We have provided a platform for more than 10 charities to raise awareness and support for their causes. In one case, our platform earned a charity a £5000 donation from one of the companies attending as a direct result. All donations and support from businesses to the local community give potential to these smaller charities to make big changes in their organisation.
Birmingham City Council – Clock On To Safety has delivered road safety workshops and a highly successful concert to over 5,000 children across the Birmingham area. In a recent talk by the Transport department, given at one of our PULSE events, the concerts were described as having unprecedented outreach for a project of its kind. We also work with BCC to fund and develop print materials, banners, and education packs for schools.
The Brain Tumor Charity – With the patronage of the charity’s leader, Andy Foote, we have helped fund the first intraoperative MRI scanner in the UK to vastly improve the prognosis of children with brain cancer. TBTC is one of our annually-decided primary charity partners.
The Prince’s Trust – For several years we worked with The Prince’s Trust as their Midlands Lead Patrons, pledging £100,000 in support of their Employability schemes. These workshops and mentorship programmes encourage disadvantaged young people toward entrepreneurship in business. Our work with the trust created 170 jobs for disadvantaged young people.
Colmore Business District – Michelle Wilby is a patron of DBS Heart, and we have held regular events in the district promoting legal services for businesses and young entrepreneurs. We have worked with Entrepreneurial Spark in Birmingham, giving presentations and pro-bono legal advice to start-ups.
PULSE spotlight speakers – Small and large charities who have taken the stage as keynote speakers at our PULSE events. (Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Acorns Children’s Hospice, City Year UK, Nottinghamshire Hospice, John Taylor Hospice, Leonard Cheshire).
We identified a barrier between businesses and the community where many companies viewed CSR requirements as a chore. From our experience, CSR can be an enriching and valuable part of any business practice, and so we wished to convey and encourage this enthusiasm in other companies. There were no other organisations for this in the local area, and so we developed a series of partnerships and events to address the issue. We have innovated through wide involvement from our own staff, who have turned DBS Heart into a project owned by the people of DBS Law, rather than simply the company; we have staged a variety of events from seminar, fundraisers, quizzes, and an upcoming charity ball. The egalitarian approach of DBS Heart allows for maximum flexibility within our CIC structure, and has allowed for creative approaches, such as our solicitors teaching in schools, or our Road Safety concert in partnership with the CBSO and Birmingham City Council.
The DBS Heart has produced benefits on three levels: a) our positive community impact, b) extending our business reputation and relationships, c) empowering and unifying our staff.
DBS Heart has had a significant impact on our standing in the local business community, giving DBS Law the opportunity to partner and connect with a wide range of businesses and causes, which have led to new business relationships, in addition to our wide-ranging impact on community causes. Our networking events have proven invaluable for helping businesses that are new to the area integrate and meet potential partners, allowing our staff to improve their business networks and generate work leads in an informal environment, and have brought businesses together in support of charitable causes.
We have increased the reputation and public trust of DBS Law, with a greater presence in the community. In our openness and willingness to assist other companies and organisations with their fundraising and awareness, we have become a trusted and looked to leader in Midlands CSR. We have been able to support our national reputation through awards and public recognition, such as recently becoming finalists at the National CSR Awards and earning the Big Tick for Business in the Community.
Our CSR engagement has also been encouraging to our staff, who like the opportunity to give back in a tangible way to the communities we serve. Going beyond one-off fundraising in the office, our staff are able to take ownership of Heart projects under one banner and our Business Development team with staff from all departments have the opportunity to contribute project ideas and help shape Heart. This has provided leadership opportunities for our staff, and additional team-building which has had a positive impact on the work environment and atmosphere across our offices by bringing our teams together.