By Chika Austin, Community Relations Executive
2016 was the most successful year in LLA's long history. Passenger numbers increased by 18.5% to 14.5 million, we welcomed more airlines, added dozens of new routes and embarked on an ambitious redevelopment.
Before a single spade was placed in the ground we made a firm commitment to ensure our local communities share in the benefits of our transformation. A commitment I'm proud to say we have not only met but exceeded.
For example we helped 16 local young people find work through our ‘Get into Airports’ scheme, run in partnership with the Prince’s Trust. Dozens more found work at the airport after attending our first ever jobs fair and we helped more than 20 community groups and charities to the tune of £142,000.
We helped Luton’s Revellers Steel Band pay for professional music teachers, Knebworth Football Club to purchase portable dug outs, helped Dunstable & District Citizens Advice Bureau to train volunteers and helped the Hertfordshire village of Barley refurbish their playground. In all LLA handed out a total of 24 grants across Beds, Herts and Bucks ranging from £250 to £7,500.
But for me what is even more remarkable is the huge effort and commitment our staff have shown to our charity partner Keech Hospice Care. We've now raised £36,000 for the charity which supports children and adults with life-limiting or terminal illnesses across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes. That’s well over halfway towards our target of £50,000 for the two-year partnership.
Staff from every corner of the airport have demonstrated their generosity through a number of events from our first ever runway run, through music nights, a golf day and an ice cream social.This year we hope to continue that momentum with the creation of “charity champions” in each department of LLA.
We would like to help even more local organisations throughout 2017 as local residents, businesses and our charity and community partners are central to our success. o if you know any local charitable groups looking for funding point them in this direction, we would love to hear from them!