Corporate & Social Responsibility
While we're a business that's all about fun, we take our responsibilities very seriously – whether it is to our guests, our employees, the creatures in our care, or the environments and communities in which we operate. Merlin in the Community is our corporate social responsibility programme and we work on both a local and Group level to help make a difference to people's lives.
Centrally, our activities are focused on our own charity, Merlin's Magic Wand, and our work in Animal Conservation and Welfare. Additionally, each attraction works with its local community, strengthening our ties with them. We’ve also made great strides in identifying ways to cut our carbon footprint, to improve our water consumption and recycling efforts, and to agree ethical terms and conditions with all of our suppliers.
Merlin's Magic Wand "Making Children Smile"
In 2008 we launched our own charitable trust - Merlin's Magic Wand. Its aim is to provide magical experiences at our attractions around the world for seriously ill or underprivileged children and for other charitable causes. It is run by a Trustee Board made up of Merlin Group employees and funded by donations from the Group (£100,000 in 2008) and other fundraising activities and donations. In particular, our employees have raised considerable amounts through their own fundraising activities.
For children unable to make the trip to one of our attractions, we take the Merlin Magic to them. From Warwick Castle sensory rooms to Merlin themed play areas, we provide bespoke installations to organisations such as children's hospices that provide long-lasting benefits
Merlin has supported a number of charities in recent years, including NSPCC in the UK and their "FULL STOP" campaign against child cruelty for which we raised £ 250,000 in cash and over £100,000 in 'benefits-in-kind' to assist their campaigns and programmes. In addition, each site supports local charity initiatives, including local schools' fundraising activities which our employees play a huge part in supporting.
Charities which have been assisted on a local basis by attractions include:
- Make a Wish Foundation
- Children With Special Needs Foundation
- Variety Club of Great Britain
- Chernobyl Children's Appeal
- Whizz Kids
- Millie's Appeal
- Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity
- Birmingham Children's Hospital
- The Prince's Trust
- Animal Welfare
As well as helping millions of people to discover the marvels of the marine world, the SEA LIFE network has an important role to play in helping safeguard our seas and their inhabitants for the future. As well as fostering conservation through enhanced awareness, SEA LIFE regularly makes a more direct contribution towards conservation and marine animal welfare. In recent years a special programme, Save Our Seas (S.O.S for short) has been established to manage and develop these activities. Our SEA LIFE division has also undertaken charitable and conservation work with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDCS), and Marine Conservation (MCS) Societies.
At all of our sites, we take our responsibilities towards the local community very seriously. Wherever possible, our progressive environmental initiatives support waste recycling, energy use reduction, noise reduction, water conservation and at Alton Towers Resort, a 'Green Travel Plan'.
We also support local initiatives such as Runnymede Borough Council's 'Yellow Bus' scheme, for which THORPE PARK RESORT was the original sponsor. Alton Towers Resort, with the local council installed security cameras in the surrounding area in order to provide a 'watch' service. We have also set up a 'First Responders' unit, which uses Alton's fully trained paramedic team and ambulance to provide a fast first-line response to local medical emergencies. LEGOLAND Windsor contributed £240,000 to the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead as part of a Section 106 agreement. The money has now helped fund a new real-time bus scheme for the borough.