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A global awareness day prompts us to reflect on how our long-standing charity partnership with Barnardo’s continues to make a profound impact on young lives.

The International Day of Charity (5 September 2021) is an annual event declared by the United Nations in 2012 to highlight how charities across the world help to save and improve people’s lives.

Making the World a Better Home is at the heart of everything we do at Saint-Gobain. In fact, it’s our purpose. As part of this commitment, we’re proud to continue supporting young people through our partnership with Barnardo’s.

The funds we have raised have been fundamental in the creation of the Barnardo’s YouthBuild Academy supported by Saint-Gobain, which scooped an accolade at the Business Charity Awards in 2019. The Academy helps young people to achieve independence and employment, while equipping them with skills to boost their future careers.

Since its formation in 2018, 57 care leavers have graduated from the Barnardo’s YouthBuild Academy programme with many developing life and construction skills. More than half have secured direct employment as a result of their training.

Our charity partnership with Barnardo’s continues to evolve and recently we were pleased to announce a collaboration between Saint-Gobain brand Jewson Partnership Solutions and YouthBuild to help more young people start a career in the construction industry.

This union will see the creation of a property maintenance social enterprise that will work with housing associations to maintain properties in their portfolios, providing graduates from the YouthBuild programme the opportunity to earn a living while learning, and the support they need to transition into work.

YouthBuild Roundtable at the Saint-Gobain Multi Comfort Centre


A home from home  

It doesn’t stop there.

Together with Barnardo’s we have built high-quality accommodation to help young people transition from care to independent living.

Two Gap Homes were constructed in Renfrewshire using timber frame kits by Saint-Gobain brand Scotframe and materials were supplied by JewsonWeber and a total of 21 Saint-Gobain brands to ensure the homes were energy efficient and comfortable for care leavers.

Our Gap Homes have provided a life-line during lockdown and also supported young people like Mary* to achieve their dreams and ambitions. Mary*, who spent most of her life in care and was struggling with looking after her newborn baby has flourished while living in a Gap Home, maturing into a confident young woman and mother - she has since moved into her own home. It’s stories like this that remind us of the importance of our charity alliance with Barnardo’s, and it was a proud moment when Gap Homes scooped the Community Impact award at this year’s Business Charity Awards.

Providing young people with a space to feel proud of, and support to make a successful transition to independence means everything to us. We continue to explore how we can support Barnardo’s to deliver their plans to build a further 50 Gap Homes over the next five years. We are incredibly excited about the scale and potential of the project to transform the lives of hundreds of young people leaving care over the coming decades.

Scotframe timber frame construction


We couldn’t have done any of this without our dedicated colleagues in the UK and Ireland who were (and continue to be!) instrumental in raising a staggering £1million for Barnardo’s since 2012.

From cake bake sales to running marathons (and other wacky fundraisers!), our colleagues have played their part in delivering a truly transformative impact for some of the most vulnerable young people in the country.

Through their actions we can continue to deliver our purpose of Making the World a Better Home for young people.

The Saint-Gobain Foundation

Our work with Barnardo’s is an integral part of our charity efforts but on top of that we continue to support communities around the world through the Saint-Gobain Foundation.

The Foundation backs charity projects that help people who are at risk, unemployed or have poor access to quality housing.

Our past projects include a €100,000 donation to the Peter McVerry trust to refurbish six apartments to provide accommodation for homeless people in Dublin and £99,400 to The Princes’ Trust Wolfson Centre in Glasgow which helps to support, develop and train young people.

If you’re involved in a project like this in the UK and Ireland and would like to find out more about how the Foundation can support, please get in touch with us at and visit the website for more information.  

Saint-Gobain Foundation

*Young people’s names have been changed to protect their right to privacy and confidentiality.

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