Its such a huge area that we broken it down into 5 different categories – each with its own sub-brand and logo. We don’t want them to become part of a dusty policy kept in a drawer and brought out for assessments – we want them to be living breathing policies. So we have given each of our Associates the task of leading one of them – this helps to keep it fresh and active and to ensure more buy- in across the firm. The different categories are –
Watkins and One promotes and supports Diversity and Inclusion and is led by Clare Touhig-Gamble, Head of our Residential Property Team. It has included the firm signing the Women in Law Pledge, the framework for working towards eliminating gender bias and demonstrating that our employees are not only aware of our commitment to gender equality, but are actively engaged in it and were featured in the Law Gazette .We have supported Pride Cymru march, celebrated and promoted LGBT+ History Month and Black History Month and International Women’s Day, National Inclusion Day and Disability History Month.
We have set up a lunchtime walking group, and healthy eating advice and recipes. We organised a successful live music event raising funds for Mental Health Foundation as part of their MHF Live initiative. We also held lunchtime meditation workshops ; 30 day challenges for yoga, meditation and fitness; A ‘Blue Monday’ dress down day to combat seasonal affected mental health issues; and provided Covid‐19 advice on immune system boosters, diet and exercise. Most recently despite home working due to the pandemic we marked Mental Health Week by holding a Zoom ‘Tea and Talk’ on the theme of Kindness. We also organised a weekly online palates session for all of our staff.
We are also a “Mindful Employer”. We are proud signatories of the “Charter for Employers Positive about Mental Health” and are committed to creating a supportive and open culture, where colleagues feel able to talk about mental health confidently, and aspire to appropriately support the mental wellbeing of all staff. “Mindful Employer” is a UK wide initiative run by Devon Partnership NHS Trust. Providing employers with easier access to professional Workplace Mental Health training, information and support, the initiative aims to help empower employers to take a lead in supporting the mental wellbeing of their staff more information here
As well a internal initiatives around paper-lite, recycling and energy efficiency we celebrated Earth Day 2020 during lockdown by challenging our staff to carry out a Random Act of Greenness – by making small changes to their daily routines and tasks to become more environmentally friendly.
We encourage all those who are Welsh speakers, or rusty in their use of the language, to use Welsh in work with other staff and clients. We also promote Welsh learning and offer our staff the Level 4 Welsh in Work learning course. We highlight those staff able to discuss legal issues with clients in Welsh with the use of a Welsh language badge, on the website and a logo on their e mail footers. We also uses a Welsh Words Monday to promote the language amongst our non-Welsh speakers. Our Welsh development Plan that was prepared last year has received official recognition from the Welsh Language Commissioner – the Cynnig Cymraeg/Welsh Offer – for the services we provide through the medium of Welsh.
Watkins and Give is focused on giving something back through supporting local charities and the community, volunteering and providing pro bono advice. This is led by Natalie Corten, Associate and member of our family law team.
The charity giving initiatives have included giving out over £46k to 12 different Welsh charities selected by the firm in a “12 Days of Giving” in 2019, donating toys to Women’s Aid in Pontypool at Christmas. Charity challenges and dress down days for the Skewen Flood Relief Fun, and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Our pro bono work has included advising at the HMP Parc, Domestic Abuse Clinic, supporting free/Reduced Fee Will Schemes with City Hospice, Tenovus and The Wallich; advising at the Cardiff University Legal Clinic and being the main supporters of the Cardiff Lawyers Care legal clinic for the those experiencing homelessness.
We have also continued to support schools and universities and also support local teams/sports clubs in our communities.