Over 100 estate agents played football at Wembley yesterday in the Estate Agency Foundation (EAF Charity) Property World Cup. On the same day Northfields, the winners of the competition, were also sponsoring Pittshanger’s “Party in the Park” where several thousand locals turned up for a great event on a summer weekend. These examples of estate agents getting involved with charities and local communities is the norm – every week, up and down the country, estate agents are involved with local projects or fundraising for great causes. And yet, as a group, the estate agency industry is not nearly recognised enough for all their hard work, indeed I doubt there is any other business sector in the UK where such a high percentage of the workforce get involved.
As part of The Estate Agency of the Year Awards in association with The Sunday Times & The Times we have recognised the estate agency which has made the greatest contribution with the Cecil Jackson Cole award, named after the philanthropist who founded Oxfam, Help the Aged and many other charities and funded these through his estate agency business, Andrews. There are going to be many contenders this year including estate agents who have cycled across the country and the USA, others who have won several marathons and triathlons. Then there are those who have held coffee mornings and other less strenuous but nonetheless important activities for their local communities. But my vote, if I had one, would currently go to Greg Young and his team at Intercounty.
Last weekend, led by Greg, 10 estate agents slept rough for Shelter. And this wasn’t pretending to sleep rough; for 24 hours they had a litre of water, a sleeping bag and that was all. Two members of the team tweeted about their experience although one had his phone stolen and experienced just how frightening being homeless can be. I particularly admire this as they actually experienced hardship, whereas all the charitable activities I’ve taken part in have normally had a benefit for me personally, such as getting fit or seeing an amazing part of the world, or both!
Since helping to set up the Estate Agency Foundation, (whose purpose is to eliminate homelessness) I’ve seen how charity and community work can be seriously beneficial for business. Not only does the local community see you involved, as importantly the team are engaged together on activities other than their day-to-day roles and often discover new things about each other whilst having a shared experience. The Estate Agency Foundation is inviting estate agents to become Ambassadors by making a minimum commitment to raise just £100 a year, although many firms will raise considerably more than this. As an Ambassador you will have access to fundraising resources and ideas, receive first invitations to events like the Property World Cup and be able to display the charity logo on your marketing materials. You will also be contributing to the idea that everyone deserves a place they can call home, something we’re totally committed to. For more information please visit eafcharity.org