Every year, 1st – 7th June, Volunteers’ Week celebrates the work of volunteers across the UK. In 2017/18, over 20 million people in the UK volunteered formally at least once a year, and 1.8 million of those did so at least once a month. Volunteers Week gives people the opportunity to thank those who donate their time, skills and knowledge.
At Bruntwood, our colleagues are given two ‘Cares Days’ a year to spend volunteering. As a business, we have always been driven by our purpose of creating thriving cities, and contributing to our communities has always been a key part of this. We believe our long-term survival as a business can’t be separated from the sustainability of the community around us - it’s important to invest in the needs of the wider community because we’re all partners in each other's futures.
We believe that greater outcomes are achieved when we collaborate and that’s why our Cares Days are guided by everyone in the business. We have a talented team who care deeply about the world around us and are thrilled by the idea of work that makes a real difference to people’s lives. Whether it’s through prosperity, health, education or culture, our people care about shaping the future of our communities and want the chance to make a difference and improve things for generations to come. We encourage our colleagues to use their knowledge and connections within their regions to inform us of events and projects in the community. We hope that this way we can access and assist a varied selection of community initiatives, whilst empowering our people by giving them a say in who we support.
We want to be known for acting with integrity, respect and passion and through Cares days, our people are able to bring that to life by working with our local communities. Last year, our staff volunteered over 2,300 hours - the equivalent of 389 days. From electricians and plumbers, human resources and marketing, our teams have been able to use their wide and varied skills to contribute to our communities.
Just one example is our work with UpRising, which aims to open pathways to power for a diverse pool of young people who have talent but lack opportunity. Bruntwood colleagues have supported Uprising’s mock interview sessions, offering their expertise and giving advice for interview techniques to help support their future. While we hope that we are able to offer a real meaningful impact it is always such a rewarding and fulfilling day for our colleagues.
Volunteering isn’t just beneficial to those being helped, but also to the people helping. Whether you volunteer in your community, to gain work experience, or even travel abroad to help those in less fortunate countries, volunteering can enrich your life in ways that you might not have realised.
It’s been proven that volunteering can help to increase confidence, by getting you out of your comfort zone. By providing opportunities to try new things and take on new challenges, people are able to achieve new goals, practice their skills and discover talents they may never have known they had.
This leads to the impact it can have on our mental health, too. The social interaction individuals get from volunteering can help to combat anxiety and depression; you will discover a sense of personal achievement and satisfaction.
Through volunteering, you’ll meet like-minded people but from all different walks of life. This is a fantastic opportunity to network and make new friends, connecting with people outside of your usual communities, learning about new ideas and beliefs.
Many businesses will find that allowing their people time to volunteer together can have a positive impact on engagement in the workplace, too. Through these rewarding experiences, staff are also able to improve their working practices through team building.