A COMPANY with a big heart landed the Business and the Community Award.

The category attracted big name nominations, among them AXA Wealth.

It was a tough decision, but the judging panel were particularly impressed with AXA Wealth’s Hearts in Action programme that keeps staff involved in charities that matter to them.

They described AXA Wealth’s commitment to the community as exceptional thanks to its staff fundraising efforts – raising £125,000 this year alone.

The pension and investment products company has been involved in other local key projects such as the sponsorship of the Skillstree project, and hosting the Borough Business Challenge.

AXA Wealth’s chief executive Mike Kellard certainly led from the top when he and some of his senior management team took on a gruelling cycle ride from the company’s Winterthur Way head office to AXA Group’s headquarters in Paris, raising money for three hospices in the process.

Collecting the award from Rafi Razzak, of Centerprise International, was Paul Riddell, head of strategic communications at AXA Wealth. Clearly delighted with the award, Paul said: “We were in competition with a number of massive employers who do an awful lot of good work in the community as well.

“All of our employees provide tremendous support, and this is just a fantastic achievement. I am really proud that we have received this award.

“It’s recognition for people like Andy Barclay, who is head of corporate responsibility, and our corporate responsibility manager Carel Rose, who have put so much work into this. It’s also acknowledgement for all of the employees who do this above and beyond their normal jobs.

“We have about 700 employees in Basingstoke, and more than 50 per cent of them have done some form of volunteering and fundraising this year – we are very proud of them.”