Businesses and Philanthropists rise to the challenge

Businesses and Philanthropists pledge support for those furthest from the job market.

Balfour Beatty and Squire Patton Boggs, along with philanthropists Gary Shuckford and Chris Miller from Leeds Commercial have teamed up with former Chair of Leeds Community Foundation, Rachel Hannan to raise a minimum of £100,000 in support of The Leeds Fund.

Seeded by a personal donation of £25,000 from Rachel Hannan, the Foundation had called for fellow business leaders and philanthropists to join her and invest in enterprising community led projects that enhance the employability skills of those further from the job market.

From 2019, The Leeds Fund’s strategic priority is Loneliness and Inclusion. With over 37,000 people in Leeds affected by loneliness and around 160,000 people living in neighbourhoods that are amongst the 10% most deprived in England, the Foundation is committed to supporting community-based projects that build a happier, healthier and more connected city.

Leeds Community Foundation has also pledged to support the city’s Inclusive Growth Strategy to ensure everyone benefits from the city’s success.

Balfour Beatty has also pledged support. This forms part of the wider commitment that Balfour Beatty has made to improve the employability and employment opportunities of young disadvantaged people in the area through engaging with projects such as  Employment Leeds.

Stephen Semple, Regional Delivery Unit Commercial Director at Balfour Beatty said: “We are excited to work alongside the Leeds Community Foundation to deliver positive change within the local community.

“Having worked in the area for some time, we are keen to reduce the skills gap through the 5% Club apprenticeship scheme; a commitment to ensuring that 5% of industry workers are apprentices, which will help local people learn new skills and build a strong career.”

John Alderton, Office Managing Partner at Squire Patton Boggs Leeds said: “The Trustees of the firm’s Charitable Trust are delighted to continue their support of Leeds Community Foundation who is helping to make a real difference to the loneliness and inclusion issues we face in Leeds.”

Rachel Hannan, Former Chair of Leeds Community Foundation, said: “I’m so proud that fellow businesses and philanthropists in the city have signed up to make a difference in Leeds and hope that this will encourage further support to reach our target of £100,000 helping to empower people to fully utilise their skills to build strong, well connected communities that continue to fuel our economy.”

For more details about The Leeds Fund, please visit or email the team at for details on how to get involved.