The Big Alliance

Set up in 2012 by Islington Giving and principle funder and founder the Macquarie Group Foundation, the BIG Alliance facilitates employee volunteering and business engagement in community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations, education programmes and employment projects to support the social and economic regeneration of Islington.

Why Islington

Traditionally city companies have focused their corporate social responsibility efforts on east London where the levels of deprivation are well known. Islington has tended to be over-looked despite the fact that it is home to some of the poorest people in London.

The prevalent image of Islington is one of leafy Georgian squares occupied by wealthy professionals which masks its high level of deprivation:

  • Second highest level of child poverty in London
  • 15,000 Islington children live in families where nobody works

The BIG Alliance encourages businesses to focus their efforts on the borough to help address issues of poverty, lack of opportunity and unemployment and with opportunities and projects which also support their corporate social responsibility priorities and requirements.



The BIG Alliance helps voluntary and community organisations build their capacity by finding volunteers with the skills, interest and ability to support areas of business need such as:

  • business planning
  • recruiting board members
  • mentoring
  • financial and accountancy advice
  • marketing
  • legal advice

Team challenges also provide a dedicated workforce, with a budget for materials and equipment to deliver more practical projects that wouldn’t be possible without the extra help.


By connecting businesses with schools, colleges and universities, The BIG Alliance helps students raise aspirations, improve employability skills and increase confidence. It also supports social mobility by providing greater access to tangible employment destinations and better student/teacher awareness of career options.


Many Islington residents struggle to find employment, with 15,000 children living in families where nobody works. The BIG Alliance employment and skills programmes aim is to redress this by delivering a range of employability training schemes which support residents move towards, and into, employment. In addition, work is done to identify job opportunities that exist within member organisations and their supply chains.

Understanding business needs

As a satellite branch of the East London Business Alliance, with 25 years’ experience in this field, The BIG Alliance understands what motivates businesses to give their employees time off to volunteer.  From skills development and staff retention to helping members become an employer of choice, it ensures they get the most out of their employee community involvement programme.

Sign up to the BIG Alliance newsletter by clicking here.

For more information contact:

Max Rowe
Programme Manager, Skills and Employment