For Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings, ‘Community Involvement’ is far more than just a cliché. It’s a long term commitment, from every team member, requiring genuine participation and involvement in our local (and other) communities.
We strongly believe that simply donating cash (though very important) is not the only way to support a good cause and build strong relationships within the community.
We produce and deliver an electronic newsletter, which is sent to over 55,000 subscribers. The newsletter includes a number of property and community related articles, as well as featuring items about local charities and other local projects.
We have a section which profiles local businesses who are encouraged to offer genuine and exclusive offers. These have included free coffee for commuters from Biggleswade from local business Cravin Coffee, and a discounted dog grooming and walking service for residents in the village of Sawtry. This has enhanced bonds between ourselves and numerous small local businesses, as well as benefitting our subscribers.
Most importantly, we offer a ‘Forthcoming Events’ free facility within the newsletter for local firms, charities, schools, and other non-profit organisations, to advertise their events in this newsletter. We have promoted everything from the ‘Mayor’s Charity Golf Day,’ in St Neots, to the ‘Community Choir Concert,’ in St Ives – all free of charge.
At Christmas in 2017, we really did show our support for local homeless people, by organising and delivering 30 Christmas stockings for the residents of Jimmy’s Homeless Shelter, in nearby Cambridge. But we didn’t do it on our own…. we requested, and were given, donations from other local businesses and industry suppliers, including Zoopla, Rightmove, Relocation Agent Network, Brief Your Market, Vebra Alto, and Moneypenny.
In addition to practical gifts such as thermal mugs, socks, gloves, hats and toiletries – we added a little Christmas fun to the stockings, by including chocolate bars, jelly beans, DVD’s, sweets, and even especially hand-baked shortbread from nearby Hotel Felix. The residents at Jimmy’s were delighted!
However, as an additional act of support, after personally delivering the Christmas stockings, one of our directors gave up his Christmas Day, and helped prepare, cook, and serve Christmas Dinner to the residents at Jimmy’s.
A team effort to show real, practical and support for the local homeless.
One of the numerous advantages of so-called “traditional estate agents” are our high profile High Street offices – and we have 7 of them!
We use these prominent locations to promote a whole range of charitable activities, and earlier this year we utilised the very practical facility of these High Street offices, as ‘dropping-off points’ for our Food Bank Appeal. It was incredibly successful!
Via our newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and our window displays, we launched an appeal for food to be distributed locally to people identified by the charity ‘The Trussell Trust’ who operate a 400-strong network of food banks, including a number in our area.
Firstly, we contacted our local food banks to identify precisely which food items they were most in need of, then set about the task of securing these specific items via our branches. The response from the local community was incredible. In just two weeks, we received much needed food donations valued at hundreds of pounds, and personally delivered them to local food banks in St Neots, Royston, and Godmanchester.
Furthermore, during one delivery, we were invited inside a local food bank and were shown exactly how this amazing facility is organised, and how they ensure that the right food is donated to the right local people. To further encourage support and understanding of this invaluable community resource, we posted an article via our website and social media, entitled ‘Thomas Morris Take You Inside a Food Bank.’ It included a two minute video.
In addition to our own local communities, Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings believe in helping causes and encouraging support for charitable causes across Britain.
In April 2017, Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings conceived of an original idea to galvanise other estate agents across the country, and encourage charitable donations from hundreds of fellow professionals. The idea was simple and effective, and culminated in raising over £1,200 for a wide range of local, regional, and national charities.
After securing the essential support of Rightmove and Relocation Agent Network (RAN), and their excellent marketing and IT resources, RAN colleagues were simply invited to donate £1 for every sales valuation, tenant, landlord valuation and buyer referral, made between June 22nd and July 31st, throughout the network. This incredibly simple idea raised the profile of numerous charities, including Help for Heroes, Cancer Research UK, Children’s Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, Macmillan, and Beyond Autism, as well as raising over £1,200. It also raised the profiles of Relocation Agent Network members in their local communities throughout the country.
This is what Richard Tucker, Managing Director of Relocation Agent Network said of the project on July 31st…
‘Simon Bradbury Director of Thomas Morris is a long standing member of Relocation Agent Network (RAN) and our National Advisory Council. As a network of estate agents across England, Scotland and Wales, Relocation Agent Network members refer home buyers and sellers to one another. Should a customer plan to relocate to another area of the country, their local Network member agent can recommend that the member in the destination location assist in their move - we call these recommendations, member to member Network Referrals. RAN has been hosting Referral Focus days since March; the aim being to focus our members on and to promote; our relocation referral service. Simon came to us in April with the fantastic idea of using the RAN Referral Focus Day initiative as a way of creating a charity fund raising campaign for the Agents Giving day held on June 22nd 2017.
We were very energised by Simon’s idea and our marketing team worked with Simon to create our RAN charity campaign. Relocation Agent Network launched its #RelocationAcrosstheNation fundraising event on 22nd June, to raise money for Agents Giving by harnessing the membership’s Referral Network activity. Between 22nd June and 31st July 2017, participating members donated £1 to Agents Giving, each time they either sent or received a customer referral. Our target was to raise £1,000 and I’m delighted to say this figure was achieved on 28th July. The campaign ends today and I’m glad to report that funds are still coming in. So a huge thanks to Simon for his brilliant idea in the first place, his technical and promotional support and his boundless enthusiasm which helped make the campaign a success. Together with Simon, my team and through the harnessing of the generosity and the goodwill of our Relocation Agent Network colleagues we have made a valuable contribution to this important Charity…’
As well as our responsibilities for local causes, we believe in a wider international community spirit, particularly with a local connection. During the last 12 months, we have supported numerous local residents, particularly younger people who are seeking to make a difference in communities around the globe, as well as their own.
Specifically, we are sponsoring Hannah Bradley, a local sixth form student who is travelling to Tanzania to:
“Live in a rural community and work on important social and cultural projects to improve the lives of local people…” Hannah will also “…work on important regeneration projects.”
In January 2017, we launched the ‘Fiver for Farr’ campaign – sponsoring and supporting an inspiring local young woman, Emily Farr. Emily went to Zambia as part of the Restless Development Project, to raise awareness about the prevention of HIV/Aids. We again secured the support of Relocation Agent Network and together we helped raise over £800 so that Emily could visit villages in Zambia and make a real difference to those communities.
This is what Emily told us about her journey…
“Having returned from Zambia I would like to thank Thomas Morris for their support. It made a difference to my trip and the communities.”
Our Fine & Country department, based in St.Neots at Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings are also active in the support of local, regional, and international communities. This year, they have made a significant contribution to the Fine & Country Foundation – a charity set up to tackle the issues of homeless people. The department held a Coffee Morning to raise funds, and have donated £10 to the charity for every ‘Gold Marketing Pack’ they order on behalf of their clients. They are regularly the largest donors using this method across the international Fine & Country Network.
One of our directors participated in last year’s Strictly Agents Ball, and competed in the annual Ballroom Dancing Competition, raising over £3,000 in sponsorship and ticket sales. Not bad for someone who cannot dance!
Another local cause that we have been delighted to support both financially and by promoting, was ‘Bella’s Wish’. We first started to support this particular local appeal over a year ago, when we became aware of Bella – a local young lady born with Cerebral Palsy and expected not to walk. After much fundraising and research, we were delighted to report that Bella took her first steps just a few weeks ago, and we were happy to report (and post the video of) the event to share on Facebook. It was one of our most shared and engaged news items of the year on Facebook and was clearly of great interest.
Another example of where we offer really personal support is our participation in the Royal British Legions Mentoring Programme. One of our team uses this online mentoring programme to personally interact with and advise military (and soon-to-be ex-military) personnel who are interested in a career in the property industry. We recently even offered one candidate (currently based in Germany) the opportunity to visit and have work experience with a local surveying company. It is one of the most rewarding aspects of all the voluntary work we participate in.
We have now supported our local charity Magpas for a number of years. This unbelievable charity offers an emergency response service throughout our region, with trained medics delivered to the scene of any serious incident by specially-adapted vehicles, including a helicopter. This organisation has literally saved the lives of hundreds of local people, having been dispatched to 863 incidents in 2017 alone.
Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings not only provide long-term support and finance to Magpas, but helped to create and participated in Orange Day - a specific date to celebrate the work of this local charity, which receives no government or lottery funding to carry out its essential work. This year’s Orange Day was held on May 19th. Here are just a few of the high-profile activities that Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings implemented to promote Magpas, and set about achieving a formidable fundraising target of £5,000 just for Orange Day.
•We ‘painted’ our entire website orange for the month!
•We published 5 full-page newspaper adverts, over 3 different publications, promoting Orange Day
•High-profile window cards at all 7 High Street branches
•Magpas collection jars at all branches
•High-impact social media campaign inviting donations on our specially-designed Just Giving page
•Email footers promoting Orange Day and linking to our Just Giving page
•Banners promoting Magpas and Orange Day
However, what really made the difference in this campaign, was the overwhelming support and participation of all our full and part-time staff – and even their family members and friends across the community!
In addition to numerous and varied individual initiatives across all branches and departments for Orange Day, the managers at two of the branches (Ramsey and St Ives) organised special high-profile and highly successful events.
Here are some of the details:
•Baking orange cakes and selling them
•Donating money to wear orange clothing for the day
•Selling oranges donated by a local fruit and vegetable shop
•Finding buried ‘orange’ treasure
•Guessing the number of sweets in a jar – again donated by a local shop
•Raffling off a hamper of food
•Our Property Management department ‘charged’ contracted suppliers £5 for each ‘job’ they attended in May
In addition to individual efforts on Orange Day, we also organised special events that really captured the imagination of the local community.
•24/7 Car Push
On Orange Day, representatives from throughout the company participated in a 24/7 car push of a Magpas emergency response vehicle. Many people genuinely questioned whether this could be done (including Magpas themselves!), but the objective was achieved with minutes to spare – raising hundreds of pounds on its own, thanks to the individual efforts of Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings staff.
We held a netball tournament in aid of Orange Day at a local school. The tournament received entries from 18 teams – all of whom donated money for the privilege of participating. The event was supported by numerous other local businesses and included stalls, picnic areas, and so much more. Over 200 locals attended the event.
This is what Nina Zamo, Communications and Marketing Officer at Magpas, had to say about this years’ efforts from Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings:
‘Thomas Morris is one of Magpas Air Ambulance’s most dedicated corporate supporters. By embracing our charity across their 7 offices they have enthused their staff to raise over £15,000 for our service through a serious of increasingly tough challenges.
In 2017 Thomas Morris supported our annual day of focused fundraising - Orange Day - by committing to raise £5,000. Their staff stepped up to the challenge by organising their own events, including a 24 mile car push and an all-day netball tournament.
These events were unique to our 46 year history of fundraising and were planned and organised entirely by Thomas Morris’s staff. Even we were a little sceptical that they could push a Lexus 4x4 car for 24 miles within a 7 hour window, but they did!
In all, their activities in May this year exceeded their initial target and raised almost £7,000 which is a fantastic achievement. Their efforts mean that they have funded at least 3 lifesaving missions for people in serious medical emergencies. As an organisation we feel incredibly lucky to have received such enthusiastic support over many years from Thomas Morris and is something that we hope will continue. Thomas Morris is one of our most valued corporate supporters and they have made a huge difference to people in our local communities through their charitable activities.’
For the Orange Day event alone, we smashed our £5,000 target, raising £6,789.75 for this AMAZING charity.
We want to emphasise that apart from the thousands of pounds we have raised for charity, the mentoring, and support of countless good causes, and the integration within our own and other communities, it is our individual staff members that really make the difference. Here’s a true story that demonstrates the real spirit of community within Thomas Morris…
At our Biggleswade branch we had a 91-year-old vendor called Urma. She lives alone and was in the process of selling her home, so that she could move nearer the coast to be closer to family, as she currently had no family living nearby.
At Christmas time 2016, Urma became very depressed as she had no one to enjoy the festive season with, and she was housebound due to ill health. She wasn’t even able to decorate her home for Christmas.
Whilst conducting a viewing around this time, Erin, a Thomas Morris negotiator, found out about Urma’s situation and it saddened her to think of somebody feeling like this at Christmas time. Erin returned to the office later that day to share this news with the rest of the team and they decided that they should do something.
Later that week, when we had another viewing arranged on the property, the team arranged for Erin to take with her a small decorated Christmas tree and a few little presents to leave under it. Erin also stayed with the vendor to have a mince pie and a cup of tea. For the next week, whenever Erin or her colleague Sue were in the area, or conducting a viewing, they would pop in for a ‘cuppa’ and a chat, just to try and make Urma’s Christmas a little better.
Urma said ‘Words do not do enough as these small gestures are so gratefully received’.
Erin and the team truly went above and beyond the normal requirements of an estate agent and personified what real community spirit is.
All of our staff believes in the same ethos and each and every one of them that can justly claim to be a…