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Corporate Social Responsibility Partnership in Action: Our journey with Action Change

Sheet metal fabrication company Unifabs' Building and signage against blue sky
Jason Austin Unifabs Chief Executive at Siyakhula Preschool South Africa with Action Change
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

Posted in Corporate Social Responsibility | Posted by Jenny Millington

Six months into our partnership with the charity Action Change, we want to update you on the charity’s achievements during this period. We are pleased to announce that our monthly donations have primarily supported Siyakhula, a preschool in a township that Unifabs’ Chief Executive, Jason Austin, visited during his trip to South Africa last year. This trip inspired Unifabs to form a corporate social responsibility partnership with Action Change.

Copper and metal theft in South Africa is big business. With such low conviction rates in the country, criminals return time and time again. Unfortunately, Siyakhula preschool often finds itself a victim to these criminals repeatedly targeting it for metal fixings, railings, taps, electrical cables, and more. These repeated burglaries not only hamper the preschool’s operations but also absorb much-needed funds. Funds which then need to go into repairs rather than towards feeding, care, and educational programmes.

Corporate social responsibility partnership in action

With our support and some additional fundraising, Action Change has rectified the damage caused. They are also attempting to futureproof against further burglaries by implementing less desirable solutions, such as replacing metal taps with plastic ones. Additionally, they have added security bars to the windows. Repairs have been made to broken doors, replacing stolen handles, broken glass and locks, and new hand railings installed. Moreover they are replacing the carpets in a classroom due to water damage caused by stolen taps. Furthermore, the funds have also gone into replacing guttering and improving drainage across the site to prevent flooding and pass the registration process.

In addition, the preschool is trialling a range of security solutions, including alarms, security guards, and a live-in night watchman, to keep the building safe for the children. This shouldn’t be the reality, but unfortunately, it is.

The cost of metal theft

In the UK alone, metal theft has reportedly drained £4.3 billion from the economy since 2013, with organised crime groups behind most of these crimes. In a recent report, one organisation reported 334 incidents of cable theft in a year, resulting in a loss of £5.3 million. You can read the full report here on recyclemetals.org. But the real cost of metal theft is not only in the figures; it’s in the people affected, like the children at Siyakhula. It’s such a widespread issue.

On a lighter note, the children excitedly welcomed some new visitors to the site. A volunteer group from Ohio State University recently spent time at Siyakhula with Action Change. The students developed a veggie garden to support the children’s meals. They converted all the unused sand pits and delivered a gardening lesson to the children. By working closely with the centre’s cook, they ensured that the children planted useful vegetables and herbs.

We are immensely proud of the progress made through our partnership with Action Change. The efforts to support Siyakhula preschool demonstrate the tangible impact that targeted donations and community support can have. By supporting Action Change, you too can help protect vulnerable schools and ensure children get the support they need. Let's combat the real cost of scrap metal theft together. To learn more about how you can get involved, please visit the Action Change website.

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