Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace, celebrates 40 years of business in 2017.

Over the last few years there have been significant changes at the company, not least the merger of six offices to make a workforce of over 500 now located in central Manchester.

As part of a commitment to its staff and the wider community in Manchester, Auto Trader wanted to support a local charity and “make a difference” in their local community.

In 2016, Auto Trader launched the Auto Trader Community Fund. Working in partnership with Forever Manchester, the fund provides support for a wide range of volunteer-led community projects across Greater Manchester.

During the first year of the fund, over 40 fantastic projects have been funded across Greater Manchester – one for every year of Auto Trader’s existence.

Some of the projects funded are a great fit with the company, such as Whitebeam Community Association based in Salford. Members of the group live in an 11-storey block of flats that includes a community room. The Auto Trader Community Fund provided support for the group to receive IT training to enable the group to meet in the community room and learn how to use a computer which can then help them in their daily lives. Staff from Auto Trader went on to volunteer for this group which they found hugely satisfying as you can see from the film below.

A wide range of issues are addressed by providing funding in this way. Child and Family Connect, based in Rochdale, for instance, provides a safe environment for children to relax and enjoy the company of parents or family members who no longer live with them.

The fund has also funded Supporting People in Need (SPiN), based in Manchester, which operates a weekly food kitchen and provides clothing for homeless and vulnerable members of society; and the Strictly Wheels Foundation which run wheelchair dance classes to help motability, skills and confidence, and provides fun for participants and their families.

The benefits of a named fund mean that a company can focus their energies, fundraising, interest and volunteering in a meaningful way and support a range of community projects addressing a wide range of issues and activities – projects such as Clayton Vale Junior Football Team, Friends of Horwich Memory Café and the Homeless Support Project in Wigan. All of these groups deliver activities that help to make local residents’ lives healthier and happier. And those residents live in communities where the staff and customers of these companies live.

Trevor Mather, Chief Executive Officer of Auto Trader, said: “We’re delighted to have made such an impact during the first year of the Auto Trader Fund. To have successfully supported over 40 community projects during our 40th anniversary year is something to be celebrated. We’re proud of our staff’s commitment and interest in the fund and that it helps to make a real difference where our staff live.