Fidler & Pepper Discuss Donations, Good Deeds And Innovative Measures

Community Involvement Award winners Fidler and Pepper have taken the time to discuss donations and good deeds during social distancing lockdown.

The Wills and probate sector have been unbelievably supportive to communities struggling to adapt to the ‘new normal’ during Covid-19 lockdown measures.

Legal practitioners have made myriad innovative workarounds to ensure valid Wills are still being written despite the social distancing difficulties. Window attestations, car park witnessing schemes and drive thru wills have become ways of ensuring increasing demand for Wills can be serviced.

Many firms are also becoming socially aware and responsible by offering their services at discounted rates for NHS key workers and even donating money to charities who are helping to combat Covid-19.

Last year, Fidler and Pepper won the British Wills and Probate Award 2019 for Community Involvement and their charitable culture has not waned throughout the last year.

The firm’s constant drive and embedded culture for helping others in their local community set them apart from a very dedicated shortlist. In order to understand how the sector is helping their community, Today’s Wills and Probate asked them to explain what they have been doing since their win and how they have been helping others during the outbreak.

Richard Howard, director and head of private client department at Fidler and Pepper, explained:

“In terms of contributing during the current crisis, we have found it challenging, but are slowly finding ways to make a difference.

“We are closely in touch with several of our most vulnerable clients, making sure they are staying safe, and encouraging them to take appropriate measures in their personal lives. We are also supporting them in new ways to make sure they are not isolated or left without support / access to cash and supplies for periods of time. One of our staff recently bought £50 worth of food and other cleaning supplies for a particularly vulnerable client, and personally delivered those supplies to their home. Another member of staff donated clothes and kitchenware to a client in need. We feel this sort of thing sets our Company apart, showing just how amazing our staff are, and demonstrating the care and support we want to offer our community.

“A proportion of our demographic are not what you would call silver surfers – they have never owned a smart phone or computer. So to reach those clients who might feel alone or unsupported because they are shielding or self-isolating, when their only points of contact might be the radio or newspaper (if it arrives), has been rewarding.

“We have spent a lot of time finding different ways to communicate, whether that’s via social media, or just plain word of mouth, or anything in between, and we feel we have managed to break down some communication barriers.

“In order to ensure our vulnerable clients are considered, we are still visiting clients in desperate need – but in line with public health guidance, and in a very responsible way. That might mean witnessing emergency Wills through windows, or liaising carefully with medical staff to try to find ways of getting documents executed appropriately.

“We have been very fortunate to have services such as video call appointments available for those clients who really, really want to see someone face to face when discussing their very sensitive personal affairs.

“We are also offering out of hours clinic hours, 5pm-7pm, two nights per week, and hopefully that will give people more access to free legal advice – should they need it.

“We are also making donations to the NHS for every Will that we complete from April to June. It might only raise a few thousand pounds, but we are actively looking at lots of different ways to help out.

“Last Year, putting our submission all down on paper really made us feel like we had contributed to the community. We like to feel that we do – but this really made it black and white, remembering all the little initiatives as well as the big ones.

“We encourage staff to think a little differently, and to be involved in the community not just as part of our business model, but also give our staff that feeling of being part of something special. Everyone, from Directors through to Apprentices, really makes an individual contribution to a team effort that they can be proud of, and talk about.

“To be recognised on such a large scale, with so many great companies involved, was a huge shock, and a pat on the back for all our staff who contribute daily to the community and our charitable efforts.

“This Year, ORIGINALLY – it was going to be more of the same, but hopefully with something else very big that we were hoping to introduce (we are keeping that under wraps at the moment!).

“We love making lots of small to medium contributions / activities / initiatives, it really creates energy in the team. But we are still working on something which we hope will make a much bigger difference to a charitable organisation.

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