Charitable Trust

Reg. Charity Number 1139468

Architects and designers are often accused of being more interested in things than people. ONE17 decided to change that…

The ONE17 Charitable Trust was set up in late 2010 to offer support to what are, in the main, people and organisations local to our base in West Yorkshire.

The term charity has a number of meanings: it can mean an organisation set up to provide help for those in need and it can mean the help itself – very often in the form of money. One essential characteristic of charity is of course that it is voluntary: it comes from a personal desire to help. Who or what an individual or organisation chooses to help – and why – is a field of study all its own. Which brings us to a further definition of charity: the exercise of kindness and tolerance in judging others.

Sometimes those most in need of help also need a good deal of kindness and tolerance in how we judge them. For a charity such as ours, with limited resources and time, making contact with the right people, often intermediaries who really know the local scene, is critically important. People, in all their bewildering complexity and magnificent variety, are at the root of every charitable trust; ours is no different.

Indeed it is what the Trust has taught us about our local community and the links we have been able to establish, as much as the help we have been able to give, that has been its greatest success.

Caroline Lee, Trustee and Head of Community Liaison for the office, who handles much of the face-to-face work of the Trust, emphasised this point:

“As a successful business we were keen to give back to our local community but wanted this to be about more than just writing a cheque. We set up the ONE17 Charitable Trust to help us to become more aware of our wider community, to play an active role in providing relief to those in need and to help inspire and enthuse young people. To this end, we don’t just give financial support we also offer in-kind business support and have established formal links with a number of schools providing bursaries, workshops, awards and support for extra curricular activities.”

“This process not only improves our awareness, but it also helps us to foster long-term relationships. We particularly like to support keen and enthusiastic volunteers within our community and ensure that their energies can be spent with the people they are supporting rather than on filling in forms. We have also found that many smaller groups lack the necessary time or expertise to bid for funding from larger charities and it is this gap that we are trying, and succeeding, to bridge in our local community.”

Monthly donations are made to the Trust from ONE17 companies. Traditionally for architects the first appointment with a new client seeking professional advice was free of charge. We now ask for a donation to the Charitable Trust and have been delighted at the positive response we have had from most potential clients to this initiative.