This week is 'Raising the Bar Week', celebrating a pioneering business initiative from the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
Launched in 2013, Raising the Bar encourages and helps businesses in the Chamber's region to showcase the good work they do in their communities, and to benchmark their progress against set standards of achievement. Contributions are assessed in four main categories – Economy, Community, Environment and Education.
The Chamber has also set up a Raising the Bar website which businesses can use to search for good causes to get involved with, or offer help to charities, schools, community groups and other good causes in their local area.
A key part of Raising the Bar is its annual Awards Night, which this year take place in Leeds on November 10th. At last year's awards Acorn Stairlifts was honoured to be named the "Winner of Winners" – the business which in the judges' eyes had raised the bar the most across the categories mentioned above.
The judges were particularly impressed by Acorn's community activities close to its headquarters at Steeton, just outside Keighley, West Yorkshire. These include its longstanding relationship with and support for the nearby Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, and links with the Marie Curie Hospice at Bradford, which has now evolved into a national partnership with Marie Curie.
Acorn also exerts a significant impact on the local economy around its West Yorkshire sites, employing around 500 people at its offices and factories in Steeton and Shipley and continuing to recruit to meet the needs of a worldwide growing business.
Accepting last year's award on behalf of Acorn, company secretary Dave Belmont said: "As a medium-size business it is easy to stay in your own business bubble, but we have made a conscious effort to make a positive impact on the local community and environment plus creating jobs for every level too. We were very proud to pick up the accolade for overall winner; this is an award the whole team will treasure."
As part of Raising the Bar Week, the West and North Yorkshire Chamber has just announced a key milestone in that 100 businesses have now signed up to the initiative. The Chamber's chairman, Stephen Wright, said: "We're acting as a kind of broker in this scheme, bringing together individuals, businesses and organisations that can give support or need it.
"It's a chance for businesses to show their involvement in their community and demonstrate that they don't operate in a bubble and can have a positive impact on their surrounding area and economy."
For more information about Raising the Bar, the annual Awards night, and how to get involved, visit the website by clicking here.
Acorn Stairlifts company secretary Dave Belmont is pictured (right) receiving the Winner of Winners award from Stephen Wright at last year's Raising the Bar Awards.