Making a difference in tough times

It's been a hard year for many people, so it feels even more important as we look at what has been achieved by our team in 2020 for the Iress Foundation.

Of course, social distancing means our usual programme of giving back hasn't always been possible in terms of volunteering, so we've supported the charities and causes close to our hearts by fundraising and continuing to donate, so they can still do what they can.

Over the course of 2020, we’ve contributed over $223K AUD* (and counting). Here are some highlights of that activity.

Supporting the bushfires relief effort

When the devastating bushfires ripped through parts of Australia in January, we leapt into action to support three charitable organisations - the New South Wales RFS, National Parks & Wildlife and CFA Hurstbridge Fire Brigade. We raised over $28,500 AUD to help tackle the fires, their effects, and help heal the damage. We also met some very cuddly and cute guests when the Foundation of National Parks and Wildlife (FNPW) joined us at our Sydney office to tell us more about their amazing work and how we could get involved.

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Tackling food poverty

With rising numbers of people facing food insecurity, it is a cause that has our continued support. In Australia, the services of FoodBank Australia have been particularly vital due to the bushfires. Our team used Iress Foundation volunteering leave to pack over 11,000kgs of food, equating to over 20,000 meals to feed households in need across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Elsewhere, we’ve continued to support the amazing work of Two Good Soup Kitchen in Sydney. And the Helping Hands Project in the UK. With hands-on support scaled back due to the virus, we’ve continued to support these charities with donations and can't wait to get back to cooking for those in the community who need it.

  • Two Good Soup Kitchen (AU): we donated 266 food jars for the Better Twogether Appeal and also made a contribution of $12,500 AUD in April.
  • Caring for Community and People (UK): We donated £1,000 GPB to the Emergency Food Share Appeal and the delivery of emergency food share parcels for those who need it most, including people who are self-isolating.
  • Helping Hands (UK): A £1,000 GBP donation to support the delivery of supplies to women's refuges and to help keep volunteers safe during deliveries.

Food insecurity can be caused by simple things like choosing to pay rent/mortgage over normal-sized meals or any meal at all. I think this is shocking. I'm grateful we get to help people in this predicament through the Iress Foundation.

Bronte Williams, Iress Melbourne

Continuing our support for Talent Beyond Boundaries

We are massive advocates of Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), supporting the work they do to help refugees rebuild their lives and find employment. TBB has its Middle East base in Beirut. It’s estimated that 1.5 million refugees are currently living in Lebanon, most of whom have escaped the civil war in Syria. In August, Beirut was rocked by a powerful explosion. Many saw homes and workplaces destroyed with food and medicines in short supply. Sadly refugees are likely to feel the biggest toll of this explosion, compounded by the challenges already brought by COVID-19 and Lebanon’s political and economic crisis. To help TBB continue its work we made a financial contribution of $15,000 AUD to TBB.


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Helping at-risk young people reach their potential

The Iress team love a challenge, particularly if it involves climbing mountains. This is one of our particular favourites having done it many times before. We couldn’t sponsor this event without getting stuck in ourselves. Our intrepid team took on the Whitelion Three Peaks Challenge in Australia climbing three mountains, in three states, in 33 hours raising $48,394 AUD which will go towards helping young people at risk so they can reach their potential. The fact it was able able to go ahead just before lockdown, makes it even more poignant to us and we can’t wait to take it on again.

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Giving children and young people a better start

With technology a passion of ours, the chance to support some learners with digital tool kits in South Africa was an exciting prospect for us. In partnership with iSchoolAfricaexternal, our Iress Foundation invested in its #MyFuture programme to give children access to resources and technology to complete their school year in 2020.

We funded 60 learners who were a part of the Mamelodi Project in Gauteng to enable: 60 iPads, 16 hours of iPad access per week, 10 subjects/curriculums, 15 online sessions each week.

This programme will continue through 2021, as more grades use the resources to form a broader spectrum of subjects and applications.

And we also: Donated to Ithemba Lethu external (ZA) a Durban creche during the current pandemic with a donation of ZAR20,000 towards nappies, food and appliances.

Donated to the Healing Word Creche (ZA) after part of the creche was destroyed by fire, giving ZAR29,373 towards groceries, clothing and salaries for the teachers.

Klipheuvel Creche (ZA): contributed ZAR30,000 towards food for the children that attend.

The Pebbles Project (ZA) external continued sponsorship of 10 little learners at The Pebbles Project giving ZAR24,000 for the year.

Sponsored a studentexternal of Computer Sciences at the Pearson Institute of Higher Education, Johannesburg to help her complete her education.

Indigenous Literacy Dayexternal, (AU) we gave $4,200 AUD for Indigenous Literacy Day in September, which donates culturally appropriate books to remote Indigenous communities.

Projects that help childhood development are loved by the team here in South Africa. Helping make an impact that sets kids up for a better future makes me really proud.

Kelisha Panday, Iress Johannesburg

Doing what we can

Earlier in the year in the UK, we learnt with great sadness of the passing of a well-loved colleague, Liam North who had been fighting an incurable brain tumour. Before his death, to help raise funds so his family could spend as much time together as possible, data engineer, Steve Mitchell, took on a lockdown triathlon - in his garden. This involved swimming 1500 metres in a child’s four-metre paddling pool, using a 12-year-old's bicycle on rollers to cover 40km and running 10k in his six-metre garden. Supported by the Iress Foundation and our generous colleagues, Steve raised an incredible £14,000 GBP.

“I just wanted to do something that would make things easier for Liam’s family. I saw that someone had done a marathon in their garden during the lockdown, and it gave me the idea. Colleagues came together to help raise a staggering amount.”

A time for helping the holiday appeals

Our virtual offices have been buzzing with activities to bring a bit of seasonal cheer to those in need. The Christmas jumper has been dug out, and we’ve been able to continue to donate gifts and care packages and even volunteer at a socially distanced event. The charity sector has seen a dramatic shortfall in fundraising income so we’ve also made donations where normal activities have been cancelled.

  • Barnardos toy appeal, Australia - donated $10,354 AUD to give a gift to disadvantaged, and at risk children.
  • Hamper Scamper, UK. Last year this community project delivered 1,757 food hampers and 2,000 children’s gifts to those having a tough time. We have been proudly helping this year too.
  • KidsOut toy appeal - Providing gifts to children who have escaped homes due to domestic violence. £5,200 GBP has been donated.
  • Helping Hands Christmas shoe box appeal, helping homeless and vulnerably housed adults in areas around our Warwick office, UK. Donations totalled £2342 GBP.
  • The Epsom & Ewell Foodbank (UK) provided 4,700 emergency food supplies in 2020 alone. This December, £3,274 GBP has been raised.

From donating food, gifts and money to physically coming to our HQ and helping sort and pack the food, Iress have been such a massive help! Thank You so much for helping us light up Christmas for those in need this year!

Katie Dainty
Events Assistant, Hamper Scamper

How does the Iress Foundation work?

  • Matching initiatives is where we match dollar for dollar, the fundraising efforts of our people
  • Iress Opportunity Initiatives aims to establish longer-term relationships and help in each region with a registered charitable organisation that focuses on those where health, education and/or welfare of people is at risk.
  • Three days Foundation Leave a year, so people can give back by volunteering their support for Iress Foundation approved causes

*Figure raised up to the 15 December 2020.

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