We play an active role in our local communities. We aim to tackle social exclusion by creating opportunities for diverse or less privileged sections of society, local to each of our offices. Many of our initiatives are designed to support young people in education to access the legal profession and the world of work. These range from reading with young primary school children to supporting school leavers with advice about higher education and work opportunities.
Our partnership with Moreland Primary School is our longest running (over a decade) and each week a group of volunteers attends to support 10 and 11 year old students to improve their reading ability and skills, particularly where English is not their first language, and experience the joy of reading.
In 2012, we developed our ambitious core social inclusion programme with Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow. Frederick Bremer is a mixed, multi-faith school, with significantly above regional average numbers of students eligible for free school meals. The firm also chose to work with Frederick Bremer as it is located in a London borough that is outside the usual catchment area of schools supported by City businesses.
The programme is designed to raise students’ aspirations through a series of ongoing, longer-term initiatives that provide access to the legal profession and wider work opportunities. Each year, a group of twelve Year 10 students are selected, with input from both the school and the firm. We are committed to supporting each cohort of students for a seven year period during which they return to us every year to participate in a range of activities including work experience, skills workshops, project presentations, paid internships and group mentoring. Four years on, 62 young people are enrolled onto the Young Talent Programme. Four year 13 students have received the Simmons & Simmons bursary, which will assist them financially through every year of university and a further two students will be awarded the bursary in 2017.
For a number of years the firm has participated in the Big Issue Vendor Development Programme, which sees a Big Issue vendor join our firm for a six month placement at our London office, selling the Big Issue magazine and undertaking a personalised work shadowing programme.