Allen & Overy Belfast marks charity partnership with Sands in Northern Ireland

Allen & Overy Belfast has raised £30,684 towards the work of pregnancy and baby loss charity Sands in Northern Ireland and across the UK, as the result of a three year pro bono and community investment partnership.

Sands works to save babies’ lives and to make sure that the right care and support is available for everyone affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby, whenever and wherever they need it.

Employees have raised the amount over the last three years through a wide range of fundraising activities including a sky dive, relay teams running in the Belfast City Marathon, coffee mornings and more. Alongside fundraising efforts, a large emphasis was placed on raising awareness of baby loss, as well as training to ensure anyone affected was supported within the workplace.

Pauline Wylie, Pro Bono and Community Investment (PBCI) Committee Chair, comments on the success of the charity partnership: “At A&O we are committed to supporting our local community, giving back and making a difference. Our partnership with Sands in Northern Ireland played a central role in that commitment and reflected our wider PBCI objectives. Sands received overwhelming support from staff as it was a cause very close to our hearts.

“Our PBCI Committee helped to drive engagement across the office by organising regular fundraising activities, which raised £30,684 for the charity. This partnership was not just about raising funds though, staff also had the opportunity to assist with making memory boxes and knitting baby blankets for bereaved families.

“The partnership with Sands helped to raise awareness of baby loss. We shared personal experiences to start conversations, and bereavement training was provided by Sands to ensure that colleagues were supported, and able to speak about their loss. Our senior employment lawyers also assisted Sands in reviewing policy documents for their ‘Bereavement in the Workplace’ project and we provided the venue for Sands to hold their AGM in our London office.”

Thanks to the efforts of A&O employees, the charity partnership has ensured the continuation of much needed support for bereaved families, including Sands’ national accredited helpline, bereavement support resources, and a monitored online community. In Northern Ireland Sands currently facilitates ten support groups and during the partnership 365 memory boxes were distributed to hospitals to support families. These memory boxes are now provided to every hospital across Northern Ireland.

Victoria Luk, Head of Partnerships, Sands said: “We are so grateful for the support of Allen & Overy Belfast and their incredible achievements during a fantastic three year partnership. The team raised a remarkable £30,684 during this time and extended their partnership to reflect the impact that the pandemic had on their plans.

“Their donations enabled Sands to provide support to bereaved families across Northern Ireland and beyond and allowed us to continue our research and campaigning to save babies’ lives.

“Alongside a remarkable fundraising achievement, Allen & Overy committed to raising awareness through their support of Baby Loss Awareness Week, and delivery of Sands’ bereavement in the workplace training. These important steps show their commitment to providing a safe and supportive environment for their colleagues. We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone at Allen & Overy Belfast.”

Allen & Overy’s Belfast office opened in 2011. It is the second largest office in the A&O network by headcount, employing over 600 people. It includes a Support Services Centre which delivers business services – Document & Design, Finance, Human Resources, IT, Library & Information and Marketing & Business Development – to the firm’s global network. Through the Advanced Delivery Legal function, Allen & Overy Belfast is also at the forefront of delivering legal services to clients in new and flexible ways, with proportionate lower-cost, tech enabled resourcing and end-to-end managed legal services.