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Oxford Innovation gives back to the community

As a company we are committed to supporting not just the businesses in our centres but also the local communities around each of our Innovation Centres. So in April we introduced our Charity Days initiative, allowing every member of staff 2 days of special leave a year to volunteer or fundraise in support of a local charity or charities. We just asked that it was challenging for them in some way….and something new!

As a company we think it is important that we support our ‘People and Places’ – our people to learn something new, or take on a physical challenge which is good for their well-being or to get out and about and learn more about the great things local charities are doing, and our places by supporting great local charities that often don’t get the spotlight or are close to our hearts in some way.

And what a great start we have made…


Leading by example, our Managing Director, Jo Stevens and Business Development Director, Elaine McKechnie took on the task of tackling the Three Peaks Challenge. A daunting task by any standard, Jo and Elaine were given 24 hours to climb the three highest mountains in the UK: Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon.

After months of training they successfully completed the challenge in 23 hours and 30 minutes, walking a total of 40km (that’s 10,000 feet or the equivalent of 80,000 steps), on just 2 hours of sleep in the back of a mini bus!

In total Elaine and Jo raised a fantastic £2.5k contributing to their teams inspiring total of £22,500 (plus gift aid). The money raised will go towards the continued operation of three well deserving Oxfordshire charities; Headway Oxfordshire, the Oxford Children’s Hospital and the Mulberry Bush School.

Find out how you can support these charities using the links below:


Travelling all the way to London, Centre Manager of Mansfield Innovation Centre, Hannah Hickman took part in The London Bridge Challenge, raising money for Diabetes UK. Taking on this challenge was influenced by her own family experience as her Mum has suffered from type one diabetes since she was seventeen.

With the support of her Mum and colleagues, Hannah took the challenge in her stride, walking for a total of 10 miles across 12 bridges in London. Speaking after the challenge Hannah said, “The walk itself was an amazing experience as I got to see parts of London that I have never seen before and raise money for a great cause”

Hannah raised a total of £150, with her Mum and her colleagues raising an additional £825. In total this event raised £250,000 which will be put towards valuable research into cures, and the better management of diabetes for both adults and children.

To donate to Diabetes UK click here.


A bit of a left field choice, our Operations Manager, Rob Wyatt and Witney Business and Innovation Centre, Assistant Centre Manager, Denise Upson spent a day volunteering at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary.

Based in Wallingford, Oxfordshire the charity cares for abused and ill-treated donkeys giving them a safe-haven to live their best donkey life. Rob and Denise raised £195 for the sanctuary and thoroughly enjoyed their day mucking out, bedding down and feeding over 140 donkeys. As a bonus, they also met with the inspiring people that dedicate their lives to care for these amazing animals.

If you would like to donate further to this charity, then please donate via the link here.


Putting the extreme into extremely terrifying, Centre Director, Shelley Furey and Customer Experience Assistant, Rae Raewyn Van Jarrsveldt from Bracknell Innovation Hub, decided a sponsored Skydive was a great way to raise money for charity.

Throwing themselves out of a plane earlier this year, the pair raised a total of £1,200 for Sebastian’s Action Trust. Launched in July 2011 the trust provides much needed support to the families of seriously-ill children from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. As part of their range of services, Sebastian’s Action Trust offers families opportunities for memorable holidays in purpose-built homes in addition to emotional, social and practical support.

To make a donation to Sebastian’s Action Trust click here.


We hope this has inspired you take on your own challenge or plan a charity day, and support the many great causes across the UK.

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