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Working together for stronger communities

#Group News
URW is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate, so every year, as part of our Better Places 2030 plan, we host a company-wide, volunteering initiative designed to support our global sustainability purpose, promote social inclusion and preserve biodiversity around our shopping centres.

Last month our 2023 edition took place, with teams from across Europe and the US donating a day of their time to help out great causes and support people in need in our communities. In all, more than around 1,100 URW staff volunteered over 8,000 hours of their time.

  1. In Austria, around 90% of our staff volunteered with Caritas Österreich, which runs a Viennese garden centre that employs people with cognitive disabilities. URW volunteers helped to carry out renovation work, building a pergola and a seating area, planting and harvesting.

  2. In Germany, the Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier team went to work at the Wilden Wiesen wildlife preserve, cutting the grass by hand using scythes, so as not to disturb the area’s diverse animal and insect life. The activity also involved a lecture from a local botanist about the area’s biodiversity.

  3. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, colleagues focused on supporting social inclusion and equality, and cleaning up public spaces. Partnering with Business for Society, our own Westfield Good Festival and Depaul Slovakia, 70 employees volunteered over 350 hours of painting and gardening, taking seniors for walks and supporting meal preparation for the homeless.

  4. The Poland team lent a hand to The Early Intervention Centre in Warsaw by organising garden renovation works and a sensory space for children, and creating a herb garden. Together with, an NGO with a mission to promote reading and the importance of education, the team also sorted books and prepared them for the local community.

  5. 48 enthusiastic URW volunteers in Sweden helped to clean a local marina, pulling out old tyres, batteries, plastic rubbish and other junk polluting the water, and also heard a talk from Oskar Kihlborg, the first Swede to climb Mount Everest.

  6. In the UK, our teams joined forces with local non-profits to transform community green spaces, help an organisation that teaches skills to disadvantaged adults and those with disabilities, and volunteer with a local specialist school for young people with autism and learning difficulties.

  7. In France, our teams worked on four different initiatives, from forest maintenance and agroforestry farming support to job skills training for disadvantaged youths and rehabilitating local run-down areas.

  8. Our Spanish colleagues were hard at work transforming the Madrid headquarters of Avante 3, a charity that supports people with intellectual disabilities and helps them to achieve their life goals. 87 URW volunteers painted, fixed, cleaned and gardened, transforming Avante 3’s facilities for its 155 guests and 20 staff members.

  9. The US teams embarked on range community projects, with the Los Angeles-based team assisting the LA Food Bank on its mission to fight hunger, Westfield Montgomery and Westfield Wheaton coming together to support two emergency women’s shelters, and Westfield Annapolis helping to arrange a toy drive for the young patients at Luminis Health medical centre. The San Diego team helped to refurbish a local seniors’ centre, while the Galleria at Roseville team volunteered at the Placer County Food Bank – and many other US colleagues took part in a number of other community initiatives.

These were just a few of the dozens of initiatives that our colleagues worked on last month, all aimed at promoting social inclusion and preserving biodiversity around our shopping centres. For all of us at URW, it was a fun way to come together as a team and help to support our communities!

For more information about our Better Places 2030 plan and our commitments to the sustainable transformation of our cities, visit the URW CSR page.