Discovering the benefits of giving

Hello. My name is Kim Slocombe and I am a Project Finance Analyst (PFA) in the Finance department.  I have worked for the company via a number of takeovers, starting with F.I., through Xansa, Steria and now Sopra Steria, for the last 26 years.

Three years ago in January, I felt that my children were all grown up and I was not needed as much for them so I decided to start some volunteering work. I was at a fundraising event for Launchpad, which is a Prevention of Homelessness charity in Reading, UK and enquired about volunteering for them. I was accepted and have been spending 3 hours a week helping in their Education, Training and Employment Hub (ETE). 

Launchpad deal with clients who are homeless, in threat of homelessness and, those with housing problems in general.  They offer support; guidance and temporary accommodation to help people get started again.  In the ETE Hub, I help clients write their CVs and apply for work, whilst helping them with basic computer skills so they can continue on their own. 

We also offer skills training courses for computing and keyboard, Construction certificate course practice and Health and Hygiene Food courses. It has been a time of great satisfaction for me and given me a chance to try something new whilst being of some use. It is for my work with Launchpad that I was nominated and won the Sopra Steria “Volunteer of the Year” award. 

I feel very humbled and grateful that my meagre efforts have been recognised in such a fantastic way.  The prize trip to India promises to be a whirlwind tour of the fabulous work done by the Sopra Steria India Foundation (SSIF).

It will be a chance to see for myself what the SSIF, led by Gayathri Mohan, Head of CSR, do for the children of India. There are projects happening in Noida, Pune and Chennai, which help put around 70,000 children through school and university each year. That we as a company help so many disadvantaged children and families is just an amazing feat. The hard work and care shown by Gayathri and her team should be an inspiration to us all.  I hope to see on my trip how all the projects are helping the children get an education and a chance to elevate their living standards for themselves and their families in the very hard world that they live in.  I have heard of the elation with which Gayathri is received when she visits the schools and pupils her team helps and hope to witness the eagerness to learn, happiness and enthusiasm that going to school gives them.  I suspect this trip is going to be a wonderful experience that opens my eyes to a way of life very different from my own.

By Kim Slocombe

My thoughts on the Sopra Steria India Foundation and the volunteering work we do to make a difference

This year I was lucky enough to be nominated for an award for my voluntary work and was selected as one of the Sopra Steria Volunteers of the Year for 2018 where I won an all-expenses-paid trip to India, to see the amazing work of the Sopra Steria India Foundation (SSIF), I leave for this exciting trip in a weeks’ time.

Over the nearly 2 weeks I am there, I will visit the international award-winning Community programmes run by Gayathri Mohan, Head of CSR for Sopra Steria India. Every year, Gayathri’s programme supports around 70,000 children through school, while also providing free lunches, access to drinking water and toilet facilities, and a huge number of other educational and social initiatives.

She also runs the Sopra Steria Scholarship programme, where we fund the full university education and living costs for a number of the brightest students from schools we support. So far more than 500 pupils through higher education programmes thanks to the Sopra Steria scholarship programme.

My volunteering

I volunteer every week at the Great Western Hospital Falcon Ward in Swindon, visiting patients on the major stroke unit, providing much needed company for individuals who may have had no visitors, as well as helping with feeding for patients who have little or no mobility.

I was inspired to volunteer after I had fought a very personal battle caring for my sister with Motor Neurone Disease. It was whilst visiting her in the hospital that that I picked up a leaflet asking for volunteers, that was over 4 years ago now. I absolutely love doing it!

I know some of the patients I see have not had a visitor all day, very often I spend time with each person chatting and putting the world to rights, chatting about travel, gardening or cooking before helping the nurses with their feeding and making cups of tea. Just simple things that I know make a difference, being the major stroke unit there are many patients there who struggle with communications and that takes time, time that the nurses don’t always have.

In addition to my work at the hospital which I am still doing and I also volunteer for a local group called “The Achievers” (Adult LD Group) this is a voluntary group in Swindon that gives adults with Learning difficulties a social context in which to interact with other adults and care receivers. We once a month arrange a social get together for the ‘members’ this varies from a meal at a local pub, cinema or theatre visits, day trips to local amenities e.g. Longleat or a canal boat trip. The members of the group have many varied disabilities from eating and drinking difficulties, communication and hearing difficulties, autism, complex physical needs, long term health conditions, behaviour that challenges others, sensory disability & mental health illness. This is a lovely group currently there are about 40 members in the Swindon area and we have just had a summer picnic and walk and are planning a Christmas meal and a trip to the panto in January, I give my time on this the day trips are usually at the weekends and evening functions I do after work.


By John Gough

The Ben Kinsella Trust and Sopra Steria – steps forward in the fight against knife crime

On Thursday 27 June, the sun shone from the sky above the prestigious National Justice Museum in Nottingham, the perfect setting for a momentous day. It was a day to mark the opening of The Ben Kinsella Trust’s second anti- knife crime exhibition in the UK, as well as Sopra Steria proudly announcing their strategic partnership with the charity, along with their joint ventures Shared Services Connected Ltd and NHS Shared Business Services.

Last weekend marked 11 years since Ben Kinsella was tragically murdered in a random and unprovoked knife attack following a night out with friends. Since then, Ben’s family have tirelessly devoted much of their lives to educating young people and the general public about the devastating consequences of knife crime, through their charity The Ben Kinsella Trust.

For many years, the charity’s work has centred around their London exhibition in Islington – an interactive workshop for children and young people, sharing Ben’s story whilst provoking thought on the consequences of carrying a knife. Thousands of young people have been impacted in this way by the charity’s powerful message.

The opening of the Nottingham exhibition

The launch of the charity’s second exhibition in Nottingham was therefore a significant leap forward in their mission. The exhibition is housed in the impressive National Justice Museum, a former court and jail house, dating back to the nineteenth century and in operation until the eighties.

Fittingly, The National Justice Museum have also been serving children and young people of the local community for many years, educating them on the criminal justice system while exploring urgent issues like knife and cyber crime.

An unforgettable day

The launch brought together all parts of the Nottingham community; the local council,  police, youth and charity workers, and local business and education leaders. As well as Ben’s family, other families impacted by knife crime across Nottinghamshire were also present to support the launch.

The grand former court room was the setting for the opening of the afternoon’s proceedings where we heard from Home Office Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins; Ben’s sister Brooke Kinsella MBE and CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust, Patrick Green. Also speaking at the launch was Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping; CEO of the National Justice Museum, Victoria Reeves and Chairman of Nottingham Business Improvement District, Jeff Allen.

The rhetoric was clear – the knife crime epidemic can be counteracted with the proper education and support of young people, and cities like Nottingham will only thrive if there are clear strategies and commitment from the government, local authorities, the police, and other public services, working together with charities, businesses and local communities in the fight against knife crime.

The day concluded with a tour of the interactive exhibition in the former police station adjacent to the museum. The emotive and, in some places upsetting exhibition, takes its participants through a journey of Ben’s story while challenging assumptions about carrying a knife.

Immersive theatre is introduced at the final stage of the workshop – an A&E resuscitation room depicting the harrowing consequences of a knife attack followed by time spent in a jail cell with an ‘inmate’ convicted on joint enterprise following their involvement in a knife attack. The role play exercise puts the young people through their paces and reveals the stark realities of prison existence. Participants are left educated, reflective, challenged and inspired. Like the thousands of young people who have experienced this in the London exhibition, there are high hopes for the difference this new exhibition will too make to the young people of Nottingham.

Sopra Steria and The Ben Kinsella Trust partnership

The Sopra Steria team were honoured to be a part of the charity’s opening of their second exhibition and are extremely proud to be in partnership with the trust.

Through this unique model we will use our digital expertise and capabilities as well as our deep experience of working in the end to end justice sector, to help the trust digitally transform and scale their organisation, including implementing an innovative virtual reality experience for their exhibitions.

We are proud to be using ‘tech for good’ and making a fundamental difference to the future of The Ben Kinsella Trust.

Brendan Swarbrick, Executive Client Director, Home Office

ESG Charity Week: Raising money for The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust

Last week our Emergency Services sector hosted a charity week in the Holborn office to support the UK Police Arboretum Memorial Trust. We want to show our continued support for the Police Forces by raising awareness during this week.

Police Arboretum Memorial Trust

The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust started in 2015, to establish a new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, the nation’s year-round place for remembrance, ceremony and quiet reflection. They are currently undertaking a campaign to raise at least £4 million to design, build and maintain the new UK Police Memorial. Since 1749 and the creation of the Bow Street Runners, as the world’s first recognised police service, more than 4,000 men and women have given their lives to serve and protect our communities in the UK.

The vision for the new memorial is to pay tribute to the UK’s police service and to honour the dedication, courage and sacrifice of its members who have given their lives to serve and protect their communities, complementing other police memorials around the UK. The new memorial has been designed in consultation with police family stakeholders and will include permanent inscription of the names of both officers and staff who have sustained injuries and subsequently died in the discharge of their lawful duties. Cut-outs of the Memorial fabric will be engraved with the names of the fallen and given to their families as permanent keepsakes for remembrance. The Trust will ensure that an investment fund is available at the end of the project to maintain the Memorial for the nation and to be used to help support the families of the fallen, in partnership with other organisations who provide care.

The Week

The Monday went really well as we worked closely with the Community Matters week combining the Mario Kart competition with the bake-off to great effect. Day 1 of Mario Kart led to fierce competition within the Grad and Digital Practice communities. It was so fierce that David Machin spent most of Monday night trying to beat the fastest track time.

The Tuesday initially started off slowly with the sponging of Muz Janoowalla. At first, people seemed  reluctant to throw sponges at him (maybe fearing for their jobs). However, all it took was one person to participate, which then led to a big scene in the kitchen area. We even had additional volunteers from the office to get sponged to ensure their teams got involved!

On Thursday there was a “Games and Grub” lunch, which involved another competitive day of Mario Kart, games such as Connect 4 and UNO, and various refreshments. More than a dozen people participated in the games and overall it was a huge success.

We hope that all Sopra Steria, Holborn based employees enjoyed themselves and if you would still like to donate you can by following this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/esgcharityweek2019