Sir Richard Branson recently extolled the virtues of encouraging staff to undertake voluntary work – and the boss of a Northamptonshire joinery specialist fully agrees.

The Virgin Group tycoon said businessmen and women should have more goals than simply profits if they are to survive and thrive.

And that has long been the mantra of two leading figures at Scotts of Thrapston, who manage to fit a busy schedule of local community and charity work around order books, VAT receipts and business meetings.

Company chairman David Scott, a third generation member of the Scott family which founded the joinery manufacturing business in 1920, and Peter Waddup, the firm’s managing director, take their community responsibility seriously.

But both men insist that the satisfaction they get out of helping others more than makes up for the hours of effort and hard work.

David is a N100 member of the Northamptonshire Community Foundation, which strives to help enrich the lives of local, disadvantaged people by delivering around £600,000 a year funding to the local voluntary and community sector.

He is also involved with the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, helping to attract more business and jobs to the area, and is on the board of the North Northants Development Company, which is facilitating the construction of 40,000 homes in and around Northants, attracting Government grants for infrastructure.

David said: “Being involved in the community and helping those less fortunate is important to me, and Scotts of Thrapston as a whole.

“I find great rewards in the work I do trying to improve people’s lives in Northamptonshire.

“And if any of the staff want to take time out to try and make this world a better place, we will help where we can.”

Peter’s charity work, meanwhile, started after a backpacking trip around India in the 1990s. Peter now admits that during that trip he would cross the road to avoid people with leprosy. The memory of the marginalised people stuck with him and in 2009 Peter, a qualified accountant, was asked to join the Board of Trustees at The Leprosy Mission England and Wales. Today he is chairman of the charity.

Father-of-two Peter said: “I will never forget my first encounters with leprosy. I knew so little about the illness that I admit to crossing the road to keep my distance. I am delighted to be involved with the charity now to be able to compensate for my misguided actions.

“Leprosy, whilst easily curable, is deeply disabling if left untreated and the stigma surrounding the disease in parts of the world today is just heartbreaking.

“Recently I was honoured to fly to Delhi for a global meeting representing the Leprosy Mission in England and Wales. Scotts of Thrapston has been excellent in allowing me the time off to fulfil my charity work because they recognise the importance of what we are doing.”