Throughout our business, the secret of S&U's success lies in the close ties it has with its customers. It's therefore natural for this to translate into links with the local communities we serve. That is why, both through direct sponsorship and through the Keith Coombs Trust, we at S&U support charities, generally for young people.
Our aim is, wherever possible, to help youngsters find the means and motivation to help themselves. That might mean providing them with equipment like wheelchairs, specialist therapy, like conductive education or simply the opportunity to stand on their own feet and structure their lives, through the Emily Jordan Foundation. These range from support for children with disabilities through the National Institute for Conductive Education where Anthony and Graham Coombs serve as trustees to providing scholarships for aspiring and talented young choreographers and designers at the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Ballet Now programme.
More important of all, our work gives S&U staff the opportunity to do their bit for local good causes too. These have ranged from a Million Metre Row for Marie Curie Cancer Care, to sponsorship of kayak rides, cake days and five-day cycle rides.
Good business means doing good and we never forget it. Below are a few examples of our work:
The Keith Coombs Trust & Birmingham Royal Ballet
"There's not been a programme like this since Diaghilev!" said David Bintley at the launch of Birmingham Royal Ballet's Ballet Now project at London's Sadler's Wells in October 2017.
Ballet Now is a unique project designed to give the next generation of Choreographers, Composers and Designers the chance to create and perform new, large scale ballet works; just like Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and their young collaborators (including Chanel, Stravinsky and Picasso) did in the 1920's, when they not only created extraordinary work (like Firebird and The Rite of Spring) but inspired a generation of dancers and choreographers, including BRB's own founder Dame Ninette de Valois.
Ballet is one of the hardest art forms for young artists to 'emerge' onto the world stage, not just because of the artistic challenge of the work, but because of the costs associated with them. Very few companies could have conceived of a project as ambitious as Ballet Now, which will require BRB to raise £2million, if it is to deliver its promise to commission 10 new ballets from 10 new teams of choreographers, composers & designers in 5 years.
BRB was only able to launch Ballet Now because of the ground-breaking support of a remarkable group of benefactors including the Oak Foundation, the Foyle Foundation, The Big Give 2017, the John Feeney Charitable Trust, the Leche Trust, the John S Cohen Foundation, the H Steven and PE Wood Charitable Trust, the W and M Morris Charitable Trust, the estate of Judith and John Percival, and Birmingham Royal Ballet's New Work Syndicate 2017 and Director's Appeal 2017.
At the forefront of this group, and present to personally introduce David Bintley at that Ballet Now launch, was Anthony Coombs. Without the support of Anthony and the Keith Coombs Trust, Embrace by George Williamson, Ignite by Juanjo Arqués and upcoming works by Didy Velman, Jack Lister and Daniela Cardim would never have been able to have been produced in Birmingham, ready to be performed on the world stage.
BRB’s new Artistic Director, Carlos Acosta has enthusiastically adapted and developed Ballet Now, emphasising its potential for encouraging local talent from a diverse array of backgrounds.
With the support of The Keith Coombs Trust, who paid for a day of care at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands – our patients, their families, carers and loved ones received the vital care and support they needed, on 10th January 2022.
Throughout the pandemic, one of the most challenging periods that the hospice has faced, our nurses, doctors and hospice team at Marie Curie have continued to provide expert clinical and practical care, in a calm and comfortable environment, while providing holistic support for people diagnosed with a terminal illness, to live well for as long as possible. Even in the most complex of cases, we offer expert care, emotional support, pain management, and reliable information to dying people and their loved ones, when people are at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.
“With our supporters, like The Keith Coombs Trust, by our side, we have been able to reintroduce some of our vital day services which closed over the pandemic, such as our Motor Neurone Disease Support Group, exercise classes, our Fatigue Anxiety and Breathlessness Clinics, Art Therapy, Child Bereavement Sessions and complimentary therapies.
With this type of support, patients and their loved ones can appreciate the benefits of earlier introduction to the hospice and other specialist services, and they can learn to manage their emotional and physical symptoms, which would otherwise have a significant negative impact on their quality of life. We couldn’t do this without such compassionate and generous supporters, like The Keith Coombs Trust.”
Shannon Haggerty, Marie Curie
Fostering Young Talent in Cricket
Barnt Green Cricket Club
Competitive sport promotes team work, discipline and self-respect. S&U/Advantage Finance sponsors The Junior Cricket Programme at Barnt Green Cricket Club, an old established local club with a strong record in developing talent through Worcestershire and Warwickshire County Cricket Clubs. Barnt Green offers up to 150 nine to sixteen-year olds boys and girls organised and professionally coached training throughout the cricket season.
In addition, 45 five to eight-year olds attend an All Stars Programme, with the most talented and determined going on to play cricket for Worcestershire. 15 youngsters currently do so.
NICE - Centre for Movement Disorders
NICE is a unique charity, based in Birmingham, who offer specialised education and therapy to children and adults with neurological disabilities through the system of Conductive Education (CE). CE originated in Hungary and in 1986 our charity was formed to make this system available to families in the UK. Over the past 35 years we have worked with over 9,000 people all living with long term conditions such as cerebral palsy, stroke, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Our services are heavily reliant on charitable funding and through the amazing support of S&U and The Keith Coombs Trust we have been able to continue to offer this vital life line to our families.
We are immensely grateful for the support we receive through a combination of sponsorship of events, donations to support our direct services, attending events and professional expertise from Anthony and Graham as trustees. To have supporters who understand the needs of our families and go above and beyond to help them makes this relationship very special. From all our families we would like to thank you all for your support throughout our journey.
The Emily Jordan Foundation
The Emily Jordan Foundation supports people with learning disabilities to develop skills to enable those that can to be able to enter the workplace. It also supplies a great days experience for people with more complex needs.
Its aim is:
To enable people with learning disabilities to lead fulfilled lives.
"The support that we have received from the Keith Coombs Trust has been extremely useful in the development of two of our projects at our Brinton's Park site. It has enabled us to start our Pots, pottery project for people with learning disabilities a lot earlier that was envisaged and has also helped to fund a new building for the people who come along to our Twigs project to be able to take a break. This is great news at the start of the winter - we already have 6 people who have started the project."
Chris Jordan, Chair of the Trustees of The Emily Jordan Foundation
The Keith Coombs Trust is proud to support Whizz-Kidz, the UK’s leading charity for young wheelchair users, in providing high quality wheelchairs and other mobility equipment for children and young people who aren’t getting a wheelchair that fully meets their needs through their local services.
For a young person, having the wrong wheelchair can lead to dependence on others, social isolation, poor mental health, pain and injury. Without the ability to be independent young wheelchair users are restricted in their chances to socialise and participate in society.
The Trust majors on providing funds for families in the Midlands and for specific items of equipment. We have funded equipment for children like Isabella, whose father said her wheelchair had “a profound effect in improving Isabella’s quality of life”, not only for the youngsters involved but for their whole family tree.