Chairman and chief executive of James Donaldson and Sons, Mr Neil Donaldson.

Donaldson celebrates 150 years in the industry

Published:  22 June, 2010

FIFE: Timber specialist, James Donaldson and Sons is celebrating 150 years in business this year. To mark the company's sesquicentennial, the company has decided to leave a 150th anniversary legacy for the benefit of the community.

Neil Donaldson, chairman and chief executive officer, explained: "For a company to survive 150 years is incredibly rare, and is something which we within the firm are enormously proud of. The directors and I did not want this amazing milestone to go unrecognised and gave much thought about how to celebrate the achievement."

Two years ago, the directors decided to start a charity in recognition of the 150th anniversary. Rather than waste money in short term revelry, the company donated £150 000 to the new charity, and so The Donaldson Leadership Academy was launched.

The purpose of the charity is to help children who have not had an easy start in life to realise their true potential. These young people often have very low expectations for their future, so the aim of the Donaldson Leadership Academy is to challenge that perception.

The children are taken to social enterprise, Columba 1400, on the Isle of Skye, which is devoted to leadership development. "Here they can develop team skills, self worth and confidence, and most importantly, enjoy themselves," said Mr Donaldson.

For the last two years the charity has sent 32 young people from the Levenmouth area where the company was founded to Columba 1400.

"Seeing the effect this experience can have on children is incredibly moving. My wife and I have participated with the children on Skye in each of the last two years and not only have these visits been inspirational they have also been life-changing.

"I hope that through the generosity of our shareholders and suppliers, we will be able to double the figure we have already invested in the Donaldson Leadership Academy," Mr Donaldson said.

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