Barclays invests in its community
Christmas is a time of completeness, when far-flung families and friends come together to share gifts and food.
That was the feeling last week at Barclays' annual Christmas party, when employees' children took on the challenge of piecing together a mural inspired by Hong Kong's vibrant sights and sounds.
In its seventh year of supporting Operation Santa Claus (OSC), investment giant Barclays went all out to generate fun and fund-raising efforts to support the needy.
Robert Morrice, chairman and chief executive of Barclays Asia-Pacific, said: 'We've grown significantly in Hong Kong over the last three or four years. We now have 1,100 people here, and obviously with that position in Hong Kong, we have to give more back to local society.'
The gloomy economic outlook has not dampened the company's enthusiasm for the work. 'Especially in this economic climate, it's not always easy to raise money for good causes,' Morrice said. 'What we've seen so far in the last three or four weeks is a real drive by staff to ensure that we are supporting the local community as we should.'
Barclays has raised HK$667,271 for OSC this year, including HK$620,000 that Morrice presented to OSC with a cheque on Friday.
'Operation Santa Claus is such an integral part of Christmas in Hong Kong now. It has now got the full backing of Hong Kong, people look for it every day to see how well it's doing. We feel that it's well run and the money is going to the right places,' Morrice said.
The mural of Hong Kong scenes was painted as four separate pictures by volunteers from Barclays. It will be divided into four sections, to be framed and given to the Hong Kong Playground Association, Hong Kong Christian Service, Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association and Mother's Choice.
Every Christmas, the bank typically invites a primary school choir to walk through the office and sing carols while accepting donations from the staff. For the first time this year, a choir made up of university students - from Hong Kong Baptist University - was asked to sing.
Since 2009, Barclays has been supporting a financial literacy programme, led by the Women's Foundation, for marginalised women in the New Territories.
Jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong, Operation Santa Claus has supported more than 100 charities since it was founded in 1988. This year, it will raise money for 16 Hong Kong charities.
How you can give
Donate online by credit card at osc.scmp.com
Donations can be made at ATMs or at any branch of HSBC: account number 502-676299-001 for SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS
You can make a donation by cheque, payable to 'SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS' and mail to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories, Hong Kong
Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt with your name, address and phone number to the address above.
Contact us via e-mail at email@example.com, telephone 2680 8159 or visit us online at osc.scmp.com