Corporate Social Responsibility
At RRA we aim to integrate social and environmental concerns as standard practice throughout our business. We are very proud of our extensive CSR program, whether it is sponsoring local events, gifting time for employees to volunteer, designing maximum sustainability into our schemes as an inherent part of the process or donating our services for a good cause, such as the Pittville Gates restoration and Balcarras Music School.
Read more about some of our various CSR endeavors below.
Opening The Doors
We are delighted to be able to provide our services free of charge to the Open Door Charity to help them with their premises. Open Door offer a range of services mainly to homeless people, but anyone who needs them is welcomed without question. They provide hot meals throughout the day, food parcels, clothing, showers, laundry services and even a street kit for individuals who cannot be homed.
Throw and Grow (and save some bees)
If you haven’t already used your free RRA seedbom, now’s the time! Anyone who hasn’t had one of our bee friendly wildflower seedboms can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and as long as we still have some, we will post one out to you. This is just one of the ways RRA is trying to help the environment, save our bees, and support local business. For the best picture shared on social media, we are offering a bouquet of flowers in your choice of colour from a local florist.
Laptops for Learning
RRA was very happy to support the Laptops for Learning initiative. We didn’t have any old equipment, so instead, we donated three brand new computers to the appeal. We would like to thank Procook for helping us source the right equipment for the schools and organising this with us. Whilst school children would benefit from computers at any point, it is particularly important at the moment with children being home schooled during the pandemic.
Still Supporting The Bulls
RRA Architects is delighted to continue it’s support of The Bulls with a new board at Edgar Street. We have been involved with sponsorship and support of Hereford FC for the past 5 years and were delighted when the club reached the cup finals at Wembley this year. Sadly, victory was not ours – but we would like to extend our congratulations to everyone involved in getting the team to the finals.
The Pied Piper Big Smart Raffle
As regular supporters of The Pied Piper Appeal, we were very happy to donate a Harvey Nichols ‘Night Before Christmas’ hamper to the 2020 Big SMART Christmas Raffle, where it joins over 100 other amazing prizes. The raffle raised over £6,000 which will go towards making a difference to sick and disabled children in Gloucestershire.
Our Latest Project!
No Planning Permission needed but a steady hand and lots of patience. Based on one of our projects, this is the RRA winning entry for the Illman Young’s Gingerbread House Competition. With gingerbread walls, icing for glue, chocolate window frames and melted glacier mints to make the glazed corner this was a super RRA Team effort. We were thrilled to win and nominated The Pied Piper Appeal as our chosen charity for the money. We are also very happy to confirm we matched the money to double the donation they received.
Dogs For Good Christmas Jumpers
In that time honoured tradition, which goes back all of three, maybe even four years, the RRA Team joined many of the UK’s organisations in wearing Christmas Jumpers in aid of charity. In 2020 our four-legged well-being officers, Bear and Margot, joined the rest of the office with their favourite jumpers and picked which charity to benefit. They’ve chosen to support the incredible work of the Dogs for Good charity, which changes the lives of disabled people with the help of expertly trained dogs.
The Orchard Trust Christmas Fundraiser
In 2020 The Orchard Trust asked if we would like to support their Big Give Christmas fundraiser. We jumped at the chance to be a match pot funder, meaning for every raffle ticket sold the money was doubled. The rules are strict and the charity only had one week to sell all the tickets, so we pulled out all the stops to help with publicity and couldn’t have been happier when we found out the fundraiser smashed its original target of £4,000, coming in at over £5,500 and meaning the whole match pot fund was available for them to use.
We do try to engage with other companies in the social media community to help raise their profiles as well as our own. So we were delighted to take part in the Cotswold Transport Planning Daft Pumpkin Carving competition, and rather surprised, to be announced as the winners. A huge “thank you” to CTP for organising such a fun competition and for choosing our batty design to win. The prize was £50 to a charity of our choice, so, we decided to match the prize and that £100 was donated to the charity, Caring for Communities and People.
Free Hedgehog House Plans
September sees lots of our local wildlife is preparing for the colder months and we can all help by making our gardens wildlife friendly, read our top ten tips here. One thing that we will be doing is cleaning our hedgehog house, positioning it under a leaf pile and hoping we will be lucky enough to have a little hedgehog who chooses it to live in over the Winter months. RRA’s Project Designer, Sarah-Jane, created plans for anyone who would like to build their own hedgehog house, download your free plans at How to build a hedgehog home.
Orleton & District Junior Football
As part of our ongoing community support, we are providing architectural services free of charge for Orleton & District Junior Football Club’s new clubhouse. The club has been providing football training for children of all abilities from surrounding areas since 1976 and the teams compete in the Herefordshire Junior Football League. However, they are in dire need of updated facilities. We have designed a new clubhouse, gained planning permission and the project is due to be onsite in 2022.
Par For The Socially Distanced Course
Despite the tricky situation with Covid-19, Ducketts Trusted Advisors and ABGI-UK still managed to pull off another hugely successful Charity Golf Day in aid of two fabulous charities – The Cart Shed, which provides support to individuals in a woodland setting, and Megan Baker House, an educational centre for children and adults with motor difficulties. Along with local business men and women, the sun also turned up to make this a most enjoyable afternoon.
Oliver Cycles To Work
In recognition of cycle to work day, our Associate, Oliver Smith, cycled an impressive 64.41 miles from his home town of Ludlow to our Gloucestershire Office in just under 5 hours. He was unlucky with the weather, but still managed to stop off to say “Hello” to the RRA Team in Hereford. And, although we may not recommend a 5 hour commute to work every day, as an ethical employer we are keen to encourage ways to help the environment and a healthy lifestyle.
Dinner’s On Us
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we felt very fortunate to have ‘weathered the storm’ with business still coming in and wanted to help support local businesses. The hospitality sector was particularly badly affected, so, along with the government’s initiatives of the reduction in vat and the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme, we were inspired to do our bit. Each RRA team member was given £50 to put towards a meal, which, in turn, helped support local restaurants and takeaways.
Dress Up Friday
Instead of ‘Dress Down Friday’ in the office, the Covid-19 lockdown inspired local charity The Pied Piper Appeal to organise ‘Dress Up Friday’ in an effort to raise funds and break the monotony of wearing our home ‘comfies’. The charity, which supports sick and disabled children and their families across the county, asked supporters to donate £2 and post a stylish selfie of themselves along with #DressUpFriday. The RRA team were more than happy to have an excuse to get our glad rags on.
Supporting Professional Development
In line with our policy of supporting continued professional development, the RRA team has been refreshing their skills in 3D CAD and rendering software via online training sessions. We have thoroughly enjoyed being walked through the extensive capabilities by Vectorworks expert and Architect, Jonathan Reeves.
A Boot Full of Food
Lockdown has reduced the donations CCP are receiving whilst the need to get food parcels to people in need has increased. We were delighted to be able to drop off over a whole boot full of food, toiletries and a few treats to the CCP Charity food bank today from RRA Architects. CCP offer the food provisions to help families or individuals facing an immediate crisis. This could be anyone who has suddenly found themselves facing poverty and hunger.
Close The Gap
RIBA are encouraging practices to disclose gender pay gap information in an effort to promote pay equality. We are very proud to confirm that not only has RRA signed up to the RIBA inclusivity pledge, Close The Gap, but we can also confirm that we have no gender pay gap and we never will. In addition, our company can boast an almost 50/50 split in genders at all levels, from directors to assistants. Even the office dogs are one of each.
The Lock In Inn Friday Quiz
CSR is about nurturing the internal community as well as supporting the external community. With all the team working from home, we do miss each other, even with our daily meetings and many phone calls. So we have a Friday Team Quiz at the Lock In Inn on Zoom to help us all stay connected! We are delighted that family members and householders also join us for an hour long quiz with the winner being sent a surprise prize the following week.
Really great to hear that the #golf day we supported for Mercia Accident Rescue Service team raised a huge £6,842.44 for the local charity to help fund their team of specialist doctors working across Herefordshire & Worcestershire, delivering immediate medical care. Thanks to Prometheus Medical Ltd for organising.
Thomas Legal and Equilaw Annual Charity Auction
We were very happy to assist the Thomas Legal and Equilaw Charity Auction in aid of CCP and Dogs For Good. Along with donating a Ludlow Food Centre ‘Taste of Four Counties’ hamper, we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening supporting the auction, buying some fabulous items and meeting the wonderful representatives from the charities. Congratulations to Thomas Legal and Equilaw who raised over £9000 for these very worthwhile charities.
RRA has been sponsoring the Fresh: Art Fair in Cheltenham since it’s inception and for 2020 we have helped create something new; by sponsoring a newcomers stand at the show we want to help talented artists to get their work recognised. This will give the new artists the opportunity to put their work in front of 50+ galleries and to say they have exhibited alongside some of the biggest names in the art world, including Banksy, Emin and Hirst.
Ludlow Cycling Festival
RRA Architects was immensely proud to be the headline sponsor of the Ludlow Cycling Festival. Held in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support the event is for cyclists of all abilities, along with a family fun day at Ludlow Rugby Club with face painting, glitter tattoos, child’s bike skills area, turbo trainer time trial challenge, inflatables, hot food, licensed bar, prize raffle and, of course, delicious cakes.
Supporting the Little Princess Trust
After years of supporting the Little Princess Trust through golf days or donated prizes, we were overjoyed to have been chosen to work with Trust to design their Centre of Excellence in Hereford. We were very happy to offer our services at a reduced rate for the project which will bring the charities many operations together under one roof and will include conference facilities, offices, a wig fitting service and, even, a wig making workshop.
As part of the countdown to Christmas RRA supports the annual CCP Hamper Scamper, collecting food, toiletries and gifts to “spread a little cheer to some of the most disadvantaged children, young people, families and vulnerable adults at Christmas.”
This is not something we limit to Christmas time and our offices are always open for donations which we will take to the local food bank.
Oliver Goes Back to College
RRA Associate, Oliver Smith, was invited to Hereford and Ludlow College to talk about his journey and what is involved in becoming an Architect. Oli discussed the day to day life in the office, from initial site visits to projects that are on site and everything in between. He talked the students through one of his current projects, to give them an insight into a real example. As part of RRA’s commitment to CSR, we are happy to support our team with time off for these initiatives.
Sponsors of the Charlie Sharples Testimonial Year in aid of the Pied Piper Appeal
We were delighted to be sponsors for many of the events during Gloucester Rugby’s, Charlie Sharples Testimonial Year, including the AV sponsor for his Charity Ball, the back cover sponsor of his Year Book and golf day. Charlie is a patron of the Pied Piper Appeal, so it was no surprise that this was his chosen charity for the year. The Testimonial team did a great job of raising money for a very worthwhile cause. We would like to thank Charlie for his hospitality and RRA are very proud to have been part of your year.
Regular supporters of the Pied Piper Appeal and events
Over the years we have been regular supporters of the Pied Piper Appeal, whether its a donated raffle prize, entering a team in one of their events or sponsoring the audio visual equipment at the annual ball, such as the fabulous Circus themed ball. Founded in 1992, The Pied Piper Appeal is the leading children’s charity in Gloucestershire. Their aim is to make a difference to the lives of sick and disabled children in the county.
Belmont Wanderers Community FC
Belmont Wanderers started as a small club in 2010 with just two teams, it has now grown to have 18 teams and over 200 players. Focusing on inclusivity, the club is open to everyone regardless of skill level and has helped many members overcome personal challenges, increase confidence and improve social skills. RRA is very proud to have been a sponsor since 2014 and will continue to support the club and all it’s members.
In 2017 RRA provided the team with a shipping container as a store room to assist the club.
Balcarras Music School
The Music School was made possible by a very generous donation by Julian Dunkerton along with fund raising by the pupils and resources donated by RRA Architects, the contractor and consultants. RRA designed the flagship facilities, which includes a music classroom, large studio for up to 60 people, new sixth form study centre and three practice rooms. Opening the facility, Jo Whiley described the building as “exceptional … the architecture is just great” adding “I would love my kids to have something like this to go to, it is wonderful.”
School Careers Days
Whenever possible we attend school careers days to talk to the next generation of talented youngsters. These events are very important for students who are just embarking on their career path. Our intention is to encourage the next generation of construction professionals, talk to students about making career choices and the importance of considering their options.
Racing the Dragons
in aid of the Pied Piper Appeal
We had absolutely no idea what we were letting ourselves in for when we agreed to enter a team for the Rotary Club of Gloucester Severn’s Dragonboat Regatta at Gloucester Docks in aid of The Pied Piper Appeal. To our surprise we won the first heat by some lengths and the second heat by a somewhat smaller margin. Sadly we didn’t get the overall fastest time, but we were proud of our efforts.
Click here to read the story and see more pictures of the day.
Terracycle is a worldwide recycling company specialising in ‘hard to recycle’ materials. We work with St James’ CofE Primary School in Cheltenham, who decorated a fabulous Terracycle Box for our office. The box collects all types of crisp and nut packets, blisterpacks and even Pringles tubes. Once the box is full the contents are returned to the school who receive money from the Terracycle recycling initiative.
Get a proper job
Architectural Assistant, Chanel Goodman, oversaw a Practical Art Workshop at Aylestone School to guide students through the process of designing a city, with a focus on Hereford. Organised by ‘Herefordshire’s a Great Place’ and ‘Rural Media’ this free event, ‘Get A Proper Job,’ included workshops, a discussion and Q&A to help young people choose a career matching their passions.
As part of RRA’s commitment to personal development, we are very happy to support our team with community projects. To read more visit Chanel’s blog, ‘Get A Proper Job’.
According to studies dogs in the workplace can bring many benefits including promoting a happier atmosphere, increasing productivity, improving concentration and reducing sick days. Our four-legged friends also increase communications between friends and strangers. Sadly we lost our original office dog, Lottie in October 2019. But we were overjoyed to welcome our new RRA office puppy ‘Bear’ in November 2019, along with our regular visiting cockerpoo, Margot.
Sponsors of Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ Charitable Art Competition
We were very happy to support the HCR Charitable Art Competition designed to celebrate Herefordshire. RRA Managing Director, Mark Powles explained that to sponsor the ‘City’ category “seemed like a perfect opportunity to get involved in the community project particularly with the strong link between art and architecture.” The competition attracted 96 entries of an exceptionally high standard. Linda Pitcher won the RRA sponsored category, ‘The City’ and donated the prize of £250 to the Yeleni Therapy and Support charity.
Marathons in aid of Shelter
We have lost count of the miles the RRA team has run over the years in various races and marathons. To name just a few:
RRApid Runners ran the Urban Rush and raised over £1300 for Shelter.
Oliver, ran the Hereford Half Marathon in aid of St Michaels Hospice.
Duncan, ran the London Landmark half marathon for the baby charity, Tommy’s.
Louise and Duncan, ran the Land Aid 10k. And, the Royal Parks Half Marathon, in aid of Tommy’s and UNICEF
Hay Festival Pavilion
Working with the Hay Festival team RRA produced a striking Oak-framed-Eco-pavilion which we had built by Oakwrights of Herefordshire. The structure was used in High Town to provide the people of Hereford with an opportunity to buy tickets for the Hay Festival.
The pavilion was then taken down and re-erected at the festival event, creating a great shelter for reading a book and sipping on a glass of Wye Valley beer.
See the time lapse here of the pavilion being erected in only a few seconds.
The Wolf Run
RRA’s Oliver Smith got down and dirty in the Wolf Run, a tough 10km obstacle course with the aim of singling out the Alpha Wolves. The race, whilst incredibly challenging, focuses on teamwork and having fun, not just being competitive. Consequently, the event has earned itself a reputation for immense team spirit between runners and marshals, who regularly give out hugs and helping hands to weary competitors. A huge well done from RRA to Oliver and team mates, Ashley Newton, Scott Griffiths, Jon Mole and Rich Brown, for their achievement.
Cure Leukaemia and Caudwell LymeCo Charity Night
RRA was delighted to support The Greatest Showman themed charity night in aid of Cure Leukaemia and Caudwell LymeCo Charity. One of RRA’s previous projects, Lyde Arundel provided a beautiful and dramatic venue for the amazing circus entertainment and outstanding food by A to Zest. Congratulations to the organisers for such a magnificent event, in the words of P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), “The noblest art is that of making others happy.”
‘Crossing the Threshold’ sponsored by RRA
RRA presented our work on the reordering of All Saints Church at the launch of the Diocese of Hereford new ‘tool kit’ “Crossing the Threshold.” The ‘kit’ provides parishes with the ‘tools’ to get the best from their church building through sensitive adaption, maintenance and repair, enabling a wider community use. The event, sponsored by RRA, was held at St Martin Church in the Bullring, Birmingham.
Elizabeth’s Footprint Charity Ball
RRA is very proud to have donated a large auction prize and resources to help organise the hugely successful Elizabeth’s Footprint Charity Ball which raised over £44,000. Elizabeth’s Footprint is a charity set up by Natalia Spencer in memory of her daughter, Elizabeth. Every penny of the money raised goes to support Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal funding cutting-edge treatment, life saving equipment and support for patients at the Bristol Children’s Hospital.
Gifted Architectural Services for Headway – new workshop for head injury people – Credenhill
RRA were proud to assist the Headway Charity to provide a new carpentry workshop. Headway provide services to adults who have a head injury or an acquired brain injury. The Carpentry workshop provides many opportunities and friendships formed. As well as providing relaxation this fosters pride and satisfaction, particularly in cases where there are issues of brain/hand co-ordination or limited mobility.
Barrells Charity Beer festival
in aid of St. Michaels Hospice and other local charities
We were proud to support the 30th annual Beer Festival held at The Barrels in Hereford which raised over £25,000 for various charities. Landlord, Phil Pryce, said: “about 50 volunteers … all giving their time for nothing, some have been helping for the last 30 years, with an 85-year-old who comes and does one session for me every year.” RRA was delighted to support this wonderful cause, sponsoring one of the headline acts along with a barrel of rather delicious ‘Blackberry Cascade’ fruit beer!
Kit Sponsors for St James’ C of E School
Along with our ongoing support of the Belmont Wanderers Community Football Team in Hereford, we are also kit sponsors for the St James C of E School football teams in Cheltenham. The school won the 2017 Whole School Improvement Award from Active Gloucestershire. Building further on this they have teamed up with Cheltenham Town FC Community Trust for training. And we were delighted when one of their teams played a brilliant afternoon of football in October winning their tournament.
Hereford FC Shorts Sponsors
RRA was very proud to be shorts sponsors for Hereford FC. We met Martin Brain to see the new home strip with the RRA logo ahead of the first home match. MD, Mark Powles, commented, “As a local company we are very proud of Hereford Football Clubs success over the past few years and are absolutely delighted to be involved as their new shorts sponsor. We wish the team all the luck for the coming season and look forward to being there to cheer them on “
Supporting MARS Charity Golf Days
RRA is a regular sponsor and supporter of the annual Golf Day to raise funds for MARS (Mercia Accident Rescue Service) which provides immediate, and often lifesaving, medical care for the critically ill and injured across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The specialist doctors and nurses donate their time and resources free of charge for this extremely worthwhile cause.
Torsos by Sophie Ryder
RRA was extremely proud to be the partners of the first major contemporary art fair in the Cotswolds, Fresh: Art Fair held at the fabulous Cheltenham Racecourse. RRA MD, Mark Powles, was keen to partner the event, saying, “art and architecture are both about highly personal and subjective creations, it simply felt appropriate for us to support the fair.” In particular, RRA has sponsored the installation of Sophie Ryder’s ‘Torsos’ for the fair, which arrived in two deliveries on a long-reach crane trucks by the specialist Sculpture Transport & Installation company.
Award-Winning Restoration of Pittville Gates
Thanks to the efforts of The Friends of Pittville an initiative to restore the the old gateway marking the entrance to Pittville was realised. They approached RRA to help with this delicate conservation project. We agreed a ‘Not for profit’ arrangement and the project was completed towards the end of 2014 with the Mayor of Cheltenham officially opening the gates in April 2015, with Royal Approval from Buckingham Palace.
Charity football match for Cure Leukaemia
RRA’s Tom Froggatt joined forces with guys from Ducketts, Whitehall, Level Peaks Ltd., Broadfix, ABC Print and other Hereford businesses to take part in a charity football match in support of Cure Leukaemia. The match was staged at St. Andrews – the home of Birmingham City Football Club – and despite the drizzle was a fantastic event, raising over £4600 for the charity – just don’t ask about the result…!
Friends of Castle Green Fireworks
RRA was very happy to support the Friends of Castle Green Fireworks Night in aid of St. James School, Hereford. With entertainment by Hereford’s Lil Z Street Dance, Wye Valley Circus Fire Performers and Like Radio the evening was a great success. At the final count 2500 tickets had been sold to raise money for the St James PTFA.