As a global company, Cummins is committed to giving back to the communities it operates in – and in the Tees Valley area, Daisy Chain has been a major beneficiary of this pledge.

While Cummins takes Corporate Responsibility very seriously, staff who have been involved with Daisy Chain have had a lot of fun over the years since they selected the autism support charity as one of their community partners.

Every Cummins employee is asked to offer a minimum of four hours volunteering within the community each year but many offer more hours.

Every Cummins site has a Community Involvement Team and Sacha Morgan is the team leader for Stockton site which offers shared services to Cummins operations all over the world including the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Russia. Aysha Cook and Alison Raine are the Daisy Chain liaison contacts.

Sacha explains, ‘The Community Involvement Team facilitate the volunteering activities our employees take part in. We select the community partners with whom we can build as well as sustain a relationship with – that’s very important to us. We like to have meaningful and long lasting, sustainable connections.

Cummins has been involved with Daisy Chain for around a decade, demonstrating the longevity of the relationship as the charity this year celebrates its fifteenth anniversary. Over the years there have been a number of grants to help establish the wetlands area and sensory play gardens – one of which was the largest ever grant made in Europe.

Sacha explains, ‘We do it because it is the right thing to do, improving the communities in which we live and work. It benefits not only our partners but our employees too. It’s not just about giving grants, it’s about giving our time and using our skills to help communities.’

Last year 75 employees donated over 300 hours to work on both the Daisy Chain farm and at the Superstore and Aysha says many return year on year as they identify with and support the work the charity does with families affected by autism.  ‘People like to support local partners and see how the work they have undertaken has benefited the local community,’ she says.

Sacha adds, ‘We very much want to support people with different abilities as we move forward. It is part of our wider strategy to make it easier for people with different support needs to gain employment so Cummins is also working with Daisy Chain on an employability scheme and looking at how we can offer work placement opportunities.’

It has been Cummins’ ethos since its inception in 1919 that the company’s survival in the long run is dependent on responsible citizenship within the communities it is a part of. ‘Working in the community is part of our long history and it is embedded at every level of the company, says Sacha. ‘While it is not compulsory, we find people really enjoy spending time helping their community. When we volunteered in the Superstore one colleague had bought a sofa and a vase within five minutes of walking in,’ Sacha laughs. ‘Someone else found a Barbour jumper they bought for a birthday present – it still had the label on.’

The Daisy Chain farm is also popular, ‘Everyone loves the animals,’ Aysha smiles. ‘Especially the spring lambs.’

She adds, ‘We have also undertaken Autism Awareness Training with Daisy Chain which was really well received among our employees, it sparked a lot of conversations which are still continuing now and people often refer back to the messages from the training.’

Sacha says, ‘So you can see a lot of thought goes into what we do. For Corporate Responsibility, we have three focus areas – environment, education and social justice which encompasses a lot. We do community needs assessments every five years so we can understand where support is needed and where our volunteering work will have the most impact for the community. It’s wonderful to work with Daisy Chain because we can see the effect it has on helping families affected by autism.’

Antonio Leitao, Vice President – Cummins Europe Area Business Organisation recently visited the Daisy Chain farm to witness the impact and contribution Cummins has made.