Seeing is Believing

I’d like to share my experience of a recent Business in the Community (BITC) Seeing is Believing Visit.

Business in the Community

The Prince’s Seeing is Believing programme, established n 1990 with His Majesty Kind Charles III as its Royal Founding Patron, was born from a simple but powerful belief that the best was to close the gap between the boardroom and the community was to take business leaders out to the communities themselves. He understood that the power of the visits was not just in seeing and believing but also in how to turn that experience into ‘doing’.

I had no hesitation in responding to the invitation. Personally, I have a deep interest in exploring ways in which businesses can make positive social impacts. Professionally, Advantage Creative has strong roots in working with partners to support Impact Investment. So I was keen to learn more…..

The Seeing is Believing Visit

Our visit to Tower Hamlets started at LEAP – London East Alternative Provision – with a tour of the exemplary education environment and talks from Headteacher, Astrid Schon, and key staff.

Set against the backdrop of the key facts and figures relating to child poverty in the UK, (it is widely reported that there are now more foodbanks in the UK than branches of McDonalds), our eyes were truly opened to the extremely challenging circumstances that children and young people are struggling with in Tower Hamlets, right in the heart of our own capital city. 


Our opportunity to speak with sixth form pupils to hear about their circumstances, and the difference that the supportive staff and environment at LEAP was making in their lives, was the thing that make an especially strong impression on me.

Mulberry School for Girls

Our visit continued to Mulberry School for Girls, managed by Mulberry Schools Trust, where sixth form pupils and staff took us on a guided tour of the local area, providing us with insights into just some of the challenges that children and young people face in this area.

Our tour included the Battle for Cable Street mural, which depicts the day anti-fascists clashed with Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts in the Jewish East End of London. First unveiled in the 1970s, the mural presents a stark image of the ugliness of racism that the mutli-cultural community has experienced for many years.


Of the many things we learned during our visit, a few things stood out to me personally.

First, I was struck by how dedicated and creative the LEAP and the Schools Trust were in engaging with parents, local support services, and the local community. 

The value of partnerships between businesses and the Schools Trust were clearly demonstrated through their STEM Academy with the Mercedes F1 Team; and the Mulberry Production Arts Academy partnerships with the National Theatre and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

I absolutley loved learning about the Global Girl Leading programme: conferences focused on supporting the leadership, confidence and voices of girls and young women, with world class speakers and role models, developed by Mulberry Schools over the last 15 years. (NB: this programme is open to other schools to join).

Focus on Actions

From the seeing and believing, our attention was directed towards turning our experience into ‘doing’ with a facilitated discussion that responded to what we had seen, heard, and learned.  

Personally, I was really pleased that staff at the Mulberry Production Arts Academy invited me to support them with their fundraising and partnership work.

Professionally, the visit helped me stimulate discussion on the theme of Impact Investment, and a commitment on my part to take forward proactive discussions on this theme.

Truly Inspiring

To be candid with you, I initially had some reservations about whether I would find the experience in some way tokenistic. However, I was genuinely impressed with the humility with which business leaders approached seeing, listening, and understanding. I was also thoroughly impressed with the professionalism of the BITC team in organising and supporting the visit.

You can learn more about the BITC initiatives at their website and their Linkedin Profile.