Giving something back

UAP CEO David Jennings talks about the company’s commitment to charitable work and community projects, both local and international.

I have always been involved in charitable work throughout my early years and working life. I firmly believe that every company has a moral and ethical duty to do what they can to help the environment, local communities and charities.

I am also a firm believer in Karma and serendipity.

Following on from our tree planting in Thailand – where we funded the planting of over 56,000 trees with the PATT Foundation – I was looking for something really positive that we could do, something we could put some real weight behind.

I was in Lytham one Sunday, and it started to rain. By chance, my brother and his wife were also in the area; they were off to support her brother who ran a small charity and he was giving a talk to raise funds. Given the rain, and the need to get the children somewhere warm and dry, we decided to join them, watch the presentation and enjoy a cuppa at the same time.

And that simple happenchance led to five years of being involved with the building of five schools in Nepal through UK-registered charity DCWC Nepal, based in Fylde, Lancashire. We promised at the outset to pay for the building materials for the schools to be built, and we met that promise.

Everyone in business has good days, great days and dark days. The dark days are those that we all want to avoid, if we possibly can. But even on our very darkest day, we still have the silver lining that 1,000 children in the remotest parts of Nepal are being taught in schools funded by UAP.

We believe that’s one very good reason to be active in charity work and support community projects, whether here or abroad.

Our sponsorship of Manchester Thunder was again by chance.

My daughter plays netball and, until a few years ago, I thought netball was consigned to the school yard. But netball proved to be something that Lucy did very well. She was soon asked to play for Bury Town YWCA, and they won national competitions.

I’ll let you into a secret, the world of netball is huge, and it’s getting bigger. Through our experiences with Lucy, we see hundreds of children up and down the country, play week-in, week-out, followed by an army of parents and supporters.

It was at this time that we discovered Manchester Thunder, a regional squad, which Lucy represented at junior level.

Manchester Thunder is a Vitality Netball Superleague team that features regularly on Sky Sports and draws a home crowd in excess of 1,000 fans. When the sponsorship offer arose, it was too good an opportunity to pass up – we would be supporting our local team, enabling grass roots development and investing in a sport with increasing international recognition.

We are now a primary partner of the Vitality Netball Superleague franchise for Manchester and north west England and have been a key sponsor of the Manchester Thunder squad since 2016.

Having secured a place in the Netball Superleague Grand Final, and with the Netball World Cup in Liverpool later this summer, we are incredibly proud to be associated with such a dynamic sport, one with such amazing female role models.

So, things happen for a reason, and we can choose to ignore opportunities as they bump into us, or we can jump in and see where they lead. And at UAP, we do just that.