Penguin Random House UK has won the award for Best New Community Programme at the Lord Mayor's Dragon Awards for its creative responsibility strategy.
The Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards recognise "exemplary" contributions made by London businesses to "meaningful community engagement". The results were announced last week at an annual celebration dinner, hosted by the Lord Mayor, Jeffrey Mountevans, held at The Mansion House.
PRH received recognition for "developing an embedded strategy that commits the business to supporting 7,500 young Londoners through a partnership with Ministry of Stories, 500 children through a reading programme, and increasing the company’s inclusivity by removing the requirement for a university degree from all its jobs".
It launched its 10-point creative responsibility manifesto in February to tackle the "creative gap" caused by factors such as social mobility, geographic location and ethnicity. At the heart of this is its three-year partnership with Hackney-based creative writing and mentoring charity Ministry of Stories to help it expand into new parts of the country and online.
According to PRH, more than a fifth of its workforce is involved in the strategy and by the end of this year, its staff will have delivered 1,200 hours of writing workshops for young people at the Ministry of Stories’ East London centre and fundraised more than £20,000 for the charity.
This year PRH also dropped the degree requirement from job applications, relaunched its entry-level recruitment programme The Scheme to take on four aspiring editors, and embarked on a nationwide campaign, WriteNow, to find, mentor and publish "underrepresented" writers.
Winners across other categories incude Assael Architecture for its Giving Something Back programme, Dentons for its 10-year Poplaw Legal Advice Clinic in Tower Hamlets, Transport for London for its Supplier Skills scheme, Oliver Wyman for its Social Impact Programme, and Liberum Capital for its partnership with School Home Support.
Tom Weldon, c.e.o., PRH UK, said: “Creative Responsibility is at the heart of our company so we are delighted that it has been recognised by the Lord Mayor's Dragon Awards.
“We believe creativity is crucial for future growth and success. Creative people invent, imagine and solve problems, big and small. By giving people opportunities to use their imaginations and tap into their creativity – whether in writing workshops at Ministry of Stories, through volunteer reading in our local primary schools, or talent recruitment initiatives like The Scheme – we are helping to equip them with the tools they need to succeed at work, at school, at home or in their communities.”
Siena Parker, creative responsibility manager, commented: "So many colleagues have come together behind a shared purpose and goals as part of our Creative Responsibility programme, and this means we can have the biggest positive social impact over the long term. We’re particularly proud that our partnership with creative writing and mentoring charity Ministry of Stories has been recognised in such a prestigious way.”