1. Bankside Open Spaces -What is your mission?
Our aim at Bankside Open Spaces Trust is to bring people together to create and care for inspiring green spaces through developing parks and gardens. We aim to meet the needs of the community, allowing people to appreciate the spaces we maintain. For example, we have recently been given a three year lease for Crossbones Graveyard from Transport for London in hope to preserve the site. Work is currently underway to create a space where people can reflect and appreciate. The site has a connection with the community that we want to preserve.
2. How does Benefacto help Bankside Open Spaces Trust achieve these aims?
Benefacto provides wonderful volunteers from the corporate sector. The volunteers that get sent to us come with a lot of enthusiasm and often an open-minded view of how they can help – which is brilliant. Benefacto also provide great feedback about our working style and ways that we can engage corporates further.
3. Benefacto provides you with Corporate Volunteers; if you had one request from the Corporate World, what would it be?
Having employee volunteers also allows us to communicate with professional people, some of whom haven’t volunteered before. It allows us to give them some insight into the work that we do and to explain that we are not run by the council but rather we are a charity. It would be really nice for each of our gardens to be sponsored by a corporate. This would help to secure long term investment into the parks and gardens and ensure their sustainability.
4. Have short-employee volunteers worked well for Bankside Open Spaces Trust?
Yes, short – term employee volunteers have worked well for Bankside Open Spaces Trust. The enthusiasm of volunteers have helped to re-energise our existing volunteers in the work that they do. It’s helpful for different volunteers to interact and share experiences of working in the community and volunteering.
5.What type of things have you got employee volunteers doing?
Employee volunteers carry out an array of activities that range from weeding, planting and clearing the park to making it nice for the public to use. Less exciting jobs might include litter picking – which is surprisingly rewarding!
6. What skills do you think professional volunteers bring to Bankside Open Spaces Trust?
Professional volunteers provide us with a ‘can do’ attitude whatever the task. I was recently working alongside a volunteer who was just so excited to get started, she seemed overjoyed to be out of the office and volunteering outdoors.
7. What do you think volunteers get out of volunteering with Bankside Open Spaces Trust?
Aside from getting plenty of fresh air (as fresh as you can get being in London), I think they leave with a greater understanding of the community and its diversity. I also think volunteers leave with a strong sense of accomplishment, no matter how small the task.