Charitable and campaigning

Our Charitable Work

Our contribution to the community at large is represented by the extensive work of the AA Charitable Trust for Road Safety and the Environment (1125119). It was established in 2008 to educate and campaign on road safety and to show how the environmental impact of motoring can be reduced. The Trust, which is largely funded by donations from the Group, has conducted the following practical initiatives during the last year.

Improving road safety

We have continued a programme of driver training that aims to improve skills and confidence, thus making our roads safer. Specific initiatives are:

  • Drive Motorway Free training to improve the confidence of drivers who are nervous of motorways, one of the most common fears as confirmed by AA Populus research.
  • Drive Confident Training to renew the confidence and improve the competence of nervous and lapsed drivers.
  • Drive Smart Training to teach young drivers, considered “at risk”, safe and eco-friendly driving techniques.
  • The AA also supports events such as Thames Valley Police’s Safe Drive Stay Alive roadshow.

Driving lessons for young people in care

The Trust completed the pilot of the Driving for Looked After Young People project, which gave four teenagers in the care system the rare opportunity to learn to drive. The project wasundertaken in conjunction with Bristol University and Bristol Council and the results highlighted the disproportionately positive effect of driving lessons on the candidates’ self-esteem and confidence. The scheme is now being rolled-out in Newcastle, Medway and Westminster and a further pilot is planned in Bristol.

Employee charitable work

At a more individual level AA employees raised in excess of £150,000 for a wide range of national charities including the Children’s Heart Unit Fund and the Royal National Institute of Blind People. We also responded to the devastating earthquake in Nepal by collecting blankets and funds. More locally, we raised funds for smaller charities and supported our communities through such events as litter clean-ups.

Many AA employees support BEN, the UK’s dedicated charity for those who work, or have worked, in automotive-related industries. Our patrols once again supported the Help for Heroes 4x4 rally and various charity bike rides.

Our campaigning

Since our foundation in 1905 we have campaigned to protect the interests of motorists and our Members, striving to be the responsible motorists’ champion. As a result the AA is widely associated with road safety and our best known awareness campaign is ‘Think Bikes’.

In 2015, the campaign won the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Innovation award; a UK fleet safety award; the Public Relations Consultants’ Association (PRCA) Automotive Award; and the Fédération Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM) campaign award. The Charitable Trust worked with the FIA to launch Think Bikes in Brussels outside the European Parliament and road safety groups in 24 countries, including Iceland, Italy, Iran and Lithuania, have adopted the ‘Think Bikes’ campaign.

Today we continue to influence Government policy in line with AA Members’ views and concerns as expressed to us via the AA Populus Panel. This panel comprises more than 300,000 drivers and attracts approximately 25,000 responses each month. We know that AA Members’ biggest concerns are the condition of the roads, in particular potholes, and the cost of motoring and road safety. The panel gives us the views with which to influence policy on issues such as fuel price transparency. We also use Populus data to work with external bodies on road safety campaigns, such as our joint work with the UK Environment Agency on flooding.

During the 2016 financial year, the AA continued to work on campaigns including the following:

  • Road Safety – SURVIVE group for motorway hard shoulder safety.
  • AA/Jameson joint anti drink-driving campaigns.
  • Support for EuroNCAP crash testing programme.
  • Presentations to Road Safety GB, TISPOL international traffic Police conference.
  • The AA regularly meets with ministers and opposition front bench, Select Committees and responds to Government consultations on important issues such as the driving test.
  • Support for UN Decade of Action on Road Safety.

OBE Award for AA President Edmund King

The AA is extremely proud that Edmund King was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 New Year’s Honour List for his services to road safety. While his efforts at the AA have ensured AA Members are represented and their voice is heard, Edmund has been a tireless and dedicated campaigner on road safety over the past 25 years in his various roles with the AA, leading think-tanks and charities. He has measurably helped to improve road safety across the UK and internationally and this honour is a reflection of his long-standing commitment and the success of the campaigns, such as Think Bikes! that he has played a prominent role in delivering.

Edmund King acknowledged the collaborative nature of campaigns by describing the OBE as a “clear reflection of the efforts of my present and past colleagues and the road safety partners and organisations that I have worked with over the years”. He remains dedicated to advancing road safety and educating drivers and many future campaigns are planned.