Voted by The Judging Panel Sponsored by Reed Insurance.

Marsh is delighted to have won the Community Initiative of the Year award for its involvement in Business Action on Homelessness pre-employment training, in collaboration with KPMG, Barclays and Marks & Spencer.

"Ready to Go" is the first stage of a programme called "Ready for Work", run by Business Action on Homelessness. It works with businesses to equip homeless people, and those at risk of being homeless, with the skills to gain and sustain employment.

Ready to Go prepares homeless people for a two-week work placement and long-term employment. The training takes place over two days. Day one is held in a homeless agency and develops motivation and confidence. Day two is held at a business premises and focuses on direct orientation to the workplace, exploring communication skills, CVs and interview techniques.

Over the past year, 145 people have gained employment through programme.

This represents an estimated saving to society of £3.9m a year. Marsh has contributed £80,000 in financial resources and employee time, and has committed to a total contribution of £190,000 over four years.

Some 35 Marsh colleagues have taken part in the programme, enabling them to develop communication and coaching skills.

Since January 2004, Marsh has also raised £135,000 for Shelter through its "Charity of the Year" relationship.


Community involvement is high on Zurich's agenda, so we are delighted to win this award. Our aim is to help disadvantaged people achieve a better quality of life and support local communities across the UK and overseas, with money, time and sharing expertise.

Our people raise more than £1m each year, volunteer for more than 50,000 hours and we award more than 1,000 grants each year. Our annual contribution to the community is valued at more than £4.1m.

The Foundation for Conductive Education is one of more than 30 long-term charity partners, and it is Zurich's work on its First Steps programme for which we have won this award.

Zurich's £75,000,over three years, will help children up to the age of three with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.

Through First Steps the children will learn how to eat, drink and dress themselves as well as how to play and interact with other children and adults.

Staff have been inspired by this charity and motivated to do even more.

Annie Williams from the Foundation for Conductive Education said: "The partnership has had so many benefits to us all at The Foundation.

"It's not just the fantastic donations, for which we are extremely grateful, it's the volunteering and above all, it's the chance to work with so many helpful and positive friends and supporters."

Highly commended

Allianz Cornhill

We are proud of the partnerships we have with many community groups and charities across the UK. Allianz Cornhill's work with the Beacon Centre, a community cancer and palliative care centre, is just one example of the work we do.

As part of our biodiversity project, we created a natural garden at the Centre to provide a therapeutic environment for patients. A mix of plants, water and shelter has encouraged wildlife into the garden, providing patients with a sense of peace and tranquillity. A series of garden rooms provide space for privacy and reflection, which is particularly important for patients coming to terms with their illness.

Allianz Cornhill is committed to supporting local charities and is delighted to have won the Community Initiative of the Year for their work with the Beacon Centre.