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JANUARY, 13, 2012

Mathew Little finds out how winning the Best Long-term Charity Partnership award has benefited the automotive company and the aid charity.

Winning the award of Best Long-Term Charity Partnership at the Business Charity Awards in May has inspired the car manufacturer Land Rover to work even more closely with its charity partner, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Since winning the prize, Land Rover has donated 26 Cycle Response Units – bicycles fitted with advanced medical kits – to the British Red Cross. The bikes were attached to vehicles previously donated by Land Rover for use at large-scale outdoor events and in urban areas. They are intended to enable the Red Cross to reach people faster in crowded areas with life-saving care.

Charlie Till, a Red Cross trainee paramedic, says: "The bikes are so well-made, and specially adapted for us to carry heavy and cumbersome equipment across lots of different types of terrain."

Since winning the award, the two organisations have worked together on other projects. In the UK, Land Rover is providing Red Cross drivers with extra training for dealing with snow, ice and difficult terrain at its multi-terrain Land Rover Experience centres, and video tutorials have been given to volunteers. Also, UK dealerships are more involved. Anna Lovell, senior corporate partnerships executive at the British Red Cross, says: "We’re at the point where dealerships and local British Red Cross offices are starting to work together to respond to local needs, whether this is through the loan of a vehicle, fundraising for equipment or sharing skills between organisations." A photo-book about the partnership has been produced and sent to all Land Rover dealerships.

The association between Land Rover and the Red Cross dates back to 1954, when a Land Rover was used as a mobile dispensary in Dubai. In 2008, as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, the company donated 60 vehicles to the charity. Half were allocated to projects around the world and the remainder were used in the UK.

In 2010, the partnership was formalised and became international. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched a three-year partnership with Land Rover, called Reaching Vulnerable People Around the World. More than 170,000 people have been helped since then, and Land Rover provided almost £4.5m of support.

The partnership supports two flagship Red Cross projects in Sierra Leone and programmes in 15 countries worldwide. These include Austria, Brazil, South Africa, the UK and the US.

Progress has continued since the award win in May. In Canada, for example, Land Rover support enabled the Red Cross to help people when floods and wildfires affected four districts between March and July this year. In all, 8,881 people were assisted with relief items and emotional support.

In Italy, Land Rover funds enabled the Italian Red Cross to set up a homeless project in Milan to provide relief to people living on the streets. And three Land Rover vehicles were donated to the Japanese Red Cross to assist with the tsunami and earthquake recovery operation this year. Land Rover employees raised £4,835 for that disaster.

Fundraising efforts

Staff also raised more than £6,000 for the Red Cross’ Child Advocacy and Rehabilitation programme in Sierra Leone in May 2011 during the annual Red Cross Appeal Week. Mark Cameron, global brand extension director for Land Rover, says: "We were so proud of our win that it was publicised both externally and internally to our 18,000 employees. We are looking forward to continuing to support the Red Cross in delivering aid in our all-terrain vehicles to those most vulnerable around the world."

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