Throughout 2021, teams across RSK have supported charities and projects that will leave a lasting legacy. Last year, employees at RSK and its family of businesses donated their time, expertise and skills to support those in need. These projects have included fundraisers in Abu Dhabi, the volunteering of specialist skills in Ireland and personal missions to make a difference in the UK, all of which have contributed to the communities we live and work in across the RSK group.
The RSK Environment team based in the United Arab Emirates was spreading kindness in February by hosting fundraising events to support local community causes. In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, the team organised a campaign to support the Emirates Red Crescent and its “Feed the Needy” campaign. Instead of purchasing gifts to mark Valentine’s Day, members of the Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices made a donation to the humanitarian organisation to support its work providing relief and aid to those affected by conflict and natural disaster. After a difficult 2020 and a challenging winter, the donations were a valuable contribution to supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.
The UAE team also hosted a second project to support those impacted by the pandemic. Introducing its own “RSKit” initiative, the team raised funds by creating a COVID safety kit that included masks, rubbing alcohol and tissues in easy-to-carry pouches. The team sold these kits among colleagues and friends, with all proceeds going towards the purchase of supermarket vouchers for the office building’s security and cleaning team as a thank you for keeping them safe during the pandemic. The team successfully raised AED 1100 for the staff working at the Abu Dhabi office building.
Continuing its fundraising projects, the Abu Dhabi office held a sports day event in December to celebrate the F1 Grand Prix that was held in Abu Dhabi. The team’s sports day involved a charity sweepstake on who would win the Grand Prix, which saw team members draw a name out of the hat for a donation to RSK’s chosen charity, Mind. With excitement in the air on race day, Jemma May Cabangca was the lucky winner, drawing Max Verstappen, with Managing Director Fergus Collie drawing second and Katrina Largo third. They each received a small prize and raised AED 400 for Mind on the day.
Throughout the year, Nicholas O’Dwyer has been supporting community growth and development from its base in Ireland through its continued support for GOAL, a humanitarian agency. GOAL’s Water-Share Ireland initiative works to deliver safe and accessible water and sanitation infrastructure across Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. For the last two years, the team at Nicholas O’Dwyer has made a corporate donation to Water-Share Ireland (WASH), which supports GOAL in the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene projects to vulnerable communities in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Syria. The team also volunteers resource support and technical advice on developing water and wastewater infrastructure for these communities and the organisation saw the successful opening of the first wastewater treatment facility in Sierra Leone earlier this year. Throughout this project, the team provided technical support and assistance to the local teams on the ground, particularly during the design and implementation phase. The team is also on standby to provide advice and troubleshooting support on operational issues that arise and need to be resolved from time to time.
Continuing this technical work, the team is now supporting the installation of a new piped water system in Uganda, providing clean water to 85,000 people in multiple villages. The project includes the development of a new groundwater source and improved storage and distribution systems.
In addition to the recent WASH initiative, the business has a long history of working on infrastructure projects throughout Africa, particularly in Tanzania where they have developed a strong relationship with the founder of the Tir na nÓg Orphanage. Owing to this relationship with the charity, the team has made donations this past year to support its ambition of creating a new children’s village at the centre that aims to provide Tanzanian children a safe home and educational space.
Movember moustache motivation: The why and the how!
Chris Williams, Asset Management Consultant at Binnies UK, took on Movember in 2021 for the eighth consecutive year. Chris shared why it is so important to him and how he has supported the initiative over the years.
Why: Men are rubbish! No wait, let me rephrase that – men are exceedingly poor at opening up and discussing issues which (they fear) may make them appear weak, vulnerable or otherwise unmanly. While there are always exceptions, there is still a high degree of perceived social stigma around the topics of men’s health and mental wellbeing. In my own small way, I’ve been trying over the last few years to take any suitable opportunity to highlight and promote that it’s OK to admit to a weakness, difficulty or problem and to ask for help.
I started off doing Movember about eight years ago, initially because my father-in-law had passed away due to prostate cancer (that’s unusual, as it’s generally manageable, especially if it’s caught early). According to Cancer Research UK, prostate cancer has a survival rate of around 78% in the UK, which has improved following the introduction of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for the over 50s. Over the years, my motivation has evolved, as have the aims of the Movember movement, and as I reflect on my own personal challenges and my efforts to reverse and mitigate them (type two diabetes, hypertension, depression, sleep apnoea and extreme fatigue), I’ve found that it really does help me to try and help others.
How: I understand how difficult it can be to ask for help and I think it’s more difficult the younger you are. Conversely, with age comes a little more wisdom (along with more ailments), but I care less and less about what other people think. I believe I have to at least try and make a difference, so if my sharing helps even just one person, then that’s a win.
This year, I’ve finally got around to dealing with some health issues I’d allowed to be sidelined: written off by myself and my GP. During Movember (which coincided with my tests), I made some very public announcements on both LinkedIn and Facebook about the invasive and uncomfortable (in some instances) tests I was going through and also my lifelong struggles with my mental health. My rationale was again that even if only one person decided to act on this or became more informed, then it was a win.
I’m very pleased to say that I’ve raised £320 for Movember this year, exceeding my ‘stretch’ target of £250 – that’s more than I have raised in all my previous years combined.
As part of my own challenge to reach about 85 kgs in weight (I started at 102 and am currently at 91.5) by the middle of 2022, I’m aiming to complete “Run the Month: Marathon Edition” in January for Prostate Cancer UK – I hasten to add this can be completed in stages…I’m certainly not fit enough to attempt that distance in one go!
Chris’s fundraising page for his marathon challenge is open online if you wish to make a donation in support.
As we welcome the New Year, RSK will continue to make valuable contributions to the communities in which it operates, all over the world. This forms an integral part of RSK’s Sustainability Route Map and is central to our core values. We encourage all colleagues, with the help of their corporate responsibility and sustainability (CR&S) representatives, to come together to identify local charities and community projects they can support through collective efforts.