Softwire is committed to giving back to the local and global community through supporting causes our staff care about. This has led to improving conditions for the poorest people, making coding as accessible a career as possible, and contributing our skills to non-profit organisations.
Anyone at Softwire can volunteer to champion an issue they care about. Softwire supports this by matching donations raised for charity by employees, and time taken off work for charitable activities. A few employees volunteer as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) officers, and help to coordinate and promote charitable initiatives within Softwire.
As a result, many people in Softwire are actively leading or involved in CSR activities, whether they are a founding director - like Dan, who came up with the idea for our biggest regular fund-raiser, Charity Saturday - or have just joined the company - like Tom, who runs a Code Club for a local primary school.
We were absolutely delighted to win the Bristol Post’s 2016 Contribution to the Community Award for our outreach and charitable support.
For more details on some of our CSR activities, please see the CSR section on our blog.
Our most successful regular fund-raising event is Charity Saturday, in which employees voluntarily give up their Saturday to work for free, and we give all the money earned that day as a company to charity. We typically raise over £10,000 at each event.
We also support a village in Ghana through Ashanti Development. We've built latrines, sponsored hygiene training, built a kindergarten, and are now sponsoring bee-keeping training and micro-credit.
We believe it's important to make people aware of the opportunities available to them in the tech sector, and we try to set ourselves measurable goals to ensure we're doing our best to reach out to young people, for example to directly give 200 young people a positive experience of the IT industry.
We run weekly after-school programming clubs at local primary schools in both London and Bristol via Code Club, and plan to start a similar club for sixth-formers. In addition, many of our developers are accredited trainers with Code Club Pro, which runs training courses on the new computing curriculum for primary school teachers. We also regularly support Tech City Stars and the Social Mobility Foundation, for example by helping with interview training and offering work experience opportunities. Each year we also support Teen Tech events in London and Bristol, and this year we will also be mentoring a team of youngsters through Young Rewired State.
Giving our skills
We really enjoy giving our time and skills to charities that can make use of them. We have been working with Youth Moves, a youth group in the most deprived area of Bristol. We helped to write their new website, and have held "pizza and programming" evenings for their young people in our office. They have loved having a chance to program Lego Mindstorms and to enjoy the link between coding and pizza!
In the past, we've developed a charity handbag auction site for the Prince's Trust, and a campaign website for Camden Cyclists. We're working with a Baby Bank charity to support a new website, and an app linking families in need with donations of equipment.
A large number of the tools and frameworks we use at Softwire are open-source, and as software developers, it's great to be able to give back to the community that's worked to build that. We've been driving to improve on and increase our contribution to open-source, both in our spare time and as part of our day-to-day work - such as becoming one of the top contributors to the annual 24 Pull Requests.