My Column

Firms aid to charity is a no brainer

  • Date: Monday 13th February 2023
column Picture

You don’t need me to remind you how uncertain the current economic climate is or the impact it’s having on households up and down the country.

And sadly, as people tighten their belts, it can have a knock-on effect on charities.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) says one in eight donors in the UK is considering reducing donations at a time of spiraling inflation. Yet the harsh reality is that in times of crisis and looming recession, demand for charity services often grows.

It’s at times like these that it’s more important than ever for businesses to step up and put the spotlight on CSR because they have the ability to make a real difference.

Just this week I spotted a call-to-action from the Marie Curie charity which I’m sure most people have heard of due to its work providing end-of-life care for people with terminal illness.

You may not know quite as much about the amazing woman whom the charity was named after – the first woman to win a Nobel prize (in physics) and first person to claim Nobel honours twice (the second was in chemistry). She discovered polonium and radium and championed the use of radiation in medicine, changing and saving lives.

As the charity continues to honour her legacy and intelligence, and generate the funds to continue delivering its invaluable services, it has just launched one of its biggest fundraiser of the year, the annual Glasgow Brain Game.

It’s now in its 16th year and this evening of fun, networking and entertainment is aiming to raise a whopping £150,000. The focal point is its iconic quiz that sets out to find the smartest business team in Glasgow and beyond.

It’s fitting, then, that the charity drafted in two Scottish bright sparks to launch this year’s event.  I was so impressed to hear that Clarkston’s Chandorkar brothers, Rucha (13) and Akhilesh (18), are among the brainiest two per cent of the population and are members of high-IQ society MENSA.

These impressive young lads are calling on Scotland’s business community to sign up to this year’s event and help raise vital funds. Marie Curie’s Glasgow Hospice alone costs £10k a day to run so it needs all the help it can get.

I know that the economic crisis is also hitting businesses in the pocket right now, but I sincerely hope that companies continue to get involved in charitable work even though times are tough.

The benefits of charitable giving go way beyond helping your chosen charity, even although that’s the primary aim.

It can boost your brand reputation, create networking and marketing opportunities, boost morale and even help to attract talent. Workers gravitate to companies with strong values and purpose and want to be associated with brands that make a difference.

Plus charity events – whether a quiz, charity auction, fitness challenge or even the classic bake sale – provide brilliant teambuilding opportunities because they’re a whole lot of fun.  They can be a wonderful way to socialise, connect with colleagues in a different setting, meet new connections and enjoy a bit of friendly competition.

I know several friends and business associates who have been lucky enough to attend the Glasgow Brain Game over the years and they’ve raved about it…despite being sore losers.

But someone’s got to win, right? Earning the title of the smartest business team in the room would be a nice accolade to take back to the office on a Monday. It would most definitely earn you bragging rights.

So why not bag a table at this year’s Glasgow Brain Game? You’ve got from now until 28 September to dig out your best clobber for this black-tie event and get swotting up on your general knowledge.

We have a dual responsibility as individuals and business owners to offer back to our communities. I promise that you will always get more back than you put in.


Side (296 words)

In a grim reminder of the downfall of Glasgow’s shipbuilding past – the once proud Govan Graving Docks site, close to the city’s Science Centre, has been left to rot and decay over the past 40 years.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition when you view both sites, and a timely reminder that you need to evolve in business to survive.   

The dilapidated site, which was once a key element to the Clyde’s shipbuilding industry, will now have new life breathed into it, as it receives a massive funding boost from the Scottish Government.

Over £2.4m has been awarded to the site from the low carbon Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme.

The programme, launched in 2021, aims to tackle the problem of persistent vacant and derelict land, a blight in many of the towns and cities across our nation, and deliver regeneration and sustainable inclusive growth as part of Scotland’s green recovery.

£50m has been pledged to the fund and will be used to promote equality, health and wellbeing across Scotland, especially in more disadvantaged areas where persistent vacant land tends to be most concentrated.

The Govan docks will use the funding to upgrade its riverside walkway, improving links and access to the Glasgow Science Centre, alongside dramatically enhancing its appearance by creating a green space co-designed by the local community.

I’ve often felt that Glasgow should have a burgeoning social and nightlife scene on the banks of the Clyde, similar to many other cities across the globe.

This new investment has real potential to transform the area further and will go a long way towards casting off the shadow of its industrial past and leading the city into the future.


Laugh (131 words)

Among the hot air and wild ideas presented on Dragon’s Den, there are some real gems that will set the heather on fire and go on to be a resounding success.

One such entrepreneur, who recently appeared on the show, caught my eye and it’s great to see that his product to prevent moisture build up in bagpipes has really blown up.

Robbie MacIsaac, who is in his final year on the University of Strathclyde’s product design engineering course, pioneered the FLUX Blowpipe at just 14 - a device which could prevent respiratory issues for pipers.

Having got a tune out of the Dragons on the show and already building up an enviable order sheet for his product, it’s great to see a young Scottish entrepreneur do well for himself.  


Weep (136 words)

I often touch on the highs and lows of Scotland’s high street and lately it has been mostly lows. Unfortunately this trend continues as M&Co announced plans to close all of its 170 stores this spring.

The Renfrewshire company has always been a mainstay within towns across Scotland, however having appointed administrators for a second time at the end of 2022, it looks to be the end for the Scottish clothing chain.

With over 2,000 jobs set to go due to the business closing its doors, it is another terrible blow for Scotland’s high street as more and more brick-and-mortar stores are lost for good.

I hope those affected can quickly find new employment and for more positive news regarding Scotland’s retail sector in the future.



Back to column listings

Recent News

News Archive