Since joining Capability Scotland as Partnerships Manager just four months ago, I have seen lots of fantastic work take place as a result of corporate volunteering. By giving staff time away from the office to help charitable organisations, companies enable individuals to get directly involved in the work they do. This involvement might be practical, for example visiting one of our services to create a sensory garden for people with complex needs, or the task could be more cerebral, with volunteers using their professional experience in a ‘skill-sharing’ task.
Corporate volunteering opportunities are varied…
Recently volunteers from Cisco helped to get our new Health and Well-being Suite in Wishaw ready for opening by planting a new front garden and painting the walls of the communal leisure area. The group brought the plants, paint and tools needed and got stuck into the task with gusto. One member of the team, Justus Osude, took a break from painting walls to tell me:
“We’ve had a fantastic day. We genuinely enjoy giving back to the community, and as a multinational company it’s part of our ethos to do so.”
Elaine Wilson, the Service Manager, was delighted to have extra help in the lead-up to the new community resource opening, and reported that “everybody has worked so hard – they are welcome back anytime!”
Capability Scotland and Scope are Standard Life’s national charity partners. While we benefit enormously from their fundraising, we also engage with their staff through our varied volunteering programme. Last week volunteers from Standard Life took part in our charity shop challenge, where two teams go head-to-head to see who can raise the most money in store. The teams and their colleagues, friends and families had been gathering lots of donated items in the lead-up to the big day. In the Corstorphine shop, some limited edition Frozen dolls were snapped up straight away! Along with bringing donations, volunteers also organised activities such as manicures and jewellery making demonstrations to raise more money for Capability Scotland, whilst selling delicious cupcakes and homemade lemonade at the same time.
When I went to visit the volunteers in Corstorphine, Yvonne Murray, who also took part in the Kiltwalk last month to raise money for our children’s services, told me:
“I’m happy to do anything we can to help, and it’s great fun. You get a laugh and a giggle and a great feeling when you hand over a cheque. It’s enjoyable to design your own window display, and to have Debs making jewellery. You get to meet new people, and you are helping a great cause.”
Standard Life volunteers have also helped Capability Scotland by using their professional skills and experience to advise on special projects. Staff involved in a leadership development programme gave up their time to create briefs and make recommendations on developing a promotional strategy for our two schools, and maximising the value of our shops through improvements in customer service. We were delighted to be able to pick the brains of staff at one of Scotland’s most successful and respected companies, and the quality of the work they produced was excellent.
Volunteers’ week has been a great opportunity for businesses to get involved…
During Volunteers’ Week (1st – 7th June) we have had groups from Scottish Enterprise helping at Stanmore House Residential and Short Breaks Service (redecorating a bungalow) and at Junction 52 in Glasgow (sprucing up the garden.) We also have groups of volunteers from Lloyds doing a variety of work at Corseford School in Renfrewshire. Next week, more volunteers from Scottish Widows, who have supported us in the past, will help to get the garden ready for summer at our New Trinity service in Edinburgh.
When I go out to meet corporate volunteers I am always impressed with their enthusiasm, ‘can-do’ attitude and sheer hard work. The work they do saves Capability Scotland thousands of pounds every year and enables us to make links with businesses all over Scotland. To everybody who has taken part or has a volunteer challenge booked in with us this summer – thank you so much for your help!
If you would like to find out more about our corporate volunteering opportunities please get in touch with me by email or by calling 0131 347 1025.