The Alchemist, the Palatine Private Equity-backed cocktail bar and restaurant concept, is to up its employee engagement with the launch of a new charity-focussed initiative called ‘Currency of Kindness”, MCA has learnt.

Under the new initiative, the Simon Potts-led company, which will open its tenth site this July in Chester, is giving its staff the freedom to donate their time to support a local community by paying them to take time off work to volunteer for partner charities in all its locations.

Potts told MCA: “Alchemy means making amazing transformations; we usually do it with cocktails but we also think there are other ways to make a difference. And that’s the ethos behind our new initiative – Currency of Kindness.

“We take our people and their ambitions seriously. We invest in helping them fulfil their potential and in creating the best possible working environments. We encourage them to connect with their local communities and we recognise that many of them want to actively help good causes and charity initiatives. But we also recognise that it’s not always that easy to take the time out to do it.

“So, instead of donating to, or raising money for, charities like many companies do to very good effect, we decided to create a new initiative donating a currency as powerful as cash, gem stones or gold – the currency of kindness paid in time.

“From supporting youth projects, helping the homeless or simply doing someone’s shopping, it’s about sharing skills, experience and, most importantly, time. Each one of our locations has selected a charity partner and every month our Alchemists will be able to take time off to volunteer without being financially penalized. We’ll pay for their time and ensure there is cover in place to fill in for them.

“It’s a simple idea – we give our staff the freedom to give something back to the community and we are all winners. As a company, we’re investing in our neighborhood’s, charity projects are getting access to committed individuals who want to make a difference, and our teams get to volunteer in work time whilst getting paid.”

The Alchemist recently achieved a place in 2017’s Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work For list which recognises organisations with the highest level of overall employee engagement and celebrates excellence in staff training and career development.