“We were only there for a couple of hours, but we were able to do so much”
It was their first week on the job but that didn’t stop the latest intake of trainees at international law firm CMS from experiencing their first taste of employee volunteering – and meeting members of London’s diverse community to boot.
The 47 trainees were split into groups so they could give real value to the six charities they were helping. As we’ve often found smaller groups are more manageable for charities and provide a more meaningful experience for the volunteers. Here are some of the amazing things the volunteers did:
- Mentored a Mobile Seniors Group in tablet use, enabling them to keep in touch with friends and family.
- Developed the language skills of a disadvantaged group who’ve recently moved to the UK, which included an extended chat about football!
- Treated the residents of a sheltered housing facility to a garden makeover and an impromptu coffee afternoon in their new outdoor space.
- Improved a nature reserve so it can be enjoyed by local residents, including 3,500 school children a year who use it as an outdoor classroom.
- Provided a bumper arts and crafts session for the residents of a home for people with disabilities.
- Ran an IT and CV writing session at a drop-in centre, to help boost people’s confidence with computers and employment skills.
The volunteers were briefed before going off on their opportunity, with each team coming back at the end of the day to present to the whole group. What stood out for all the trainees was how much they had enjoyed talking to – and sharing skills – with people they’d likely never had an opportunity to meet.
Liliane Fozard, who helped run a CV-writing session, said:
“It was such a fulfilling experience! The charities do an amazing job and really bring the community together. We were only there for a couple of hours, but we were able to do so much for others. It’s been amazing.”
Indeed, when applied carefully, employee volunteers can really enhance the services charities deliver to their clients. The session leader from the Mobile Seniors Group remarked:
“Without the wonderful volunteers facilitating the session, it wouldn’t have happened. Both the volunteers and service-users enthusiasm spurred conversations and helped the elderly learners resolve their queries. The young corporate volunteers adapted very easily and provided our service users with a human, kind and non analytical approach which is always appreciated”.
Emily Catterwell, CSR Executive from CMS, remarked:
“Benefacto were an absolutely crucial part of our recent Trainee CSR Day. They helped to source relevant projects that would give our new trainees real insight into some of the work CMS does in its local communities. The Trainee CSR Day was a perfect way for our new trainees to demonstrate CMS’ commitment to CSR and for them to see, first hand, the huge value their contribution makes. These experiences are also an opportunity for our people to enhance their own personal development and skills which, in turn, can be transferred to the workplace.”
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