At The Panoply, we believe in the power of our people to transform their communities. That’s why we encourage everyone to donate 1% of their time to purpose-driven activities throughout the year. On September 13th, teams across Europe came together for one day to promote volunteering and show the impact that we can make together.
Our first ever Community Action Day saw 99 employees support 13 projects and donate 408 hours. Here are some of the highlights.
Helping protect our environment
A healthy natural environment is essential for the wellbeing of all communities. Teams from Manifesto, Deeson and GreenShoot Labs joined forces on the Community Action Day to clean the beach at Reculver in Kent. As well as picking up over 30kg of litter to make the beach a nicer place for visiting people and wildlife, the team also helped the Marine Conservation society gather data on the types of rubbish that washes up – essential for campaigning against the growing problem of plastic waste in our oceans.
“It was amazing to see Manifesto, GSL and Deeson all together,” one member of the team commented. “So lovely to be out in the fresh air on the beach having time away from screens and client work. Litter picking was super therapeutic.”
Helping those who help others
The winter season, while beautiful, can spell danger for mountaineers in the Skakavitza Nature Reserve in Bulgaria. A group from Questers helped prepare an essential mountain shelter for the cold weather to come and volunteered for a day shift with the Mountain Rescue team from Bulgarian Red Cross.
“Very rewarding to work with our team on a project outside of what we usually do. Great to be able to help a good cause, while working together in a new way.”
At the same time, a mixed group from Disruption, FutureGov and the central team were helping with the breakfast and lunch service at Providence Row. The charity, which tackles the root causes of homelessness, provides breakfast and lunch services every day to those who need it most. As well as planning, prepping and serving the meal, the team also got a chance to spend some time with the clients over lunch – where they got to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Supporting vulnerable communities
The plight of refugees arriving in the UK was a big theme of the day. Staff from Notbinary helped out at Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees, providing support for raising the organisation’s profile and engaging in advocacy related to the refugee situation in Gloucestershire.
The team from D/SRUPTION volunteered their time and skills in service of Solace, a charity providing therapeutic support for asylum seekers and refugees. Most of their clients are suffering with symptoms of PTSD, severe anxiety or depression. Many have suffered torture before they arrived in the UK. All are struggling to cope with the pressure and uncertainty of the asylum process or the transition to refugee status. The D/SRUPTION team are helping the charity demonstrate their impact to stakeholders by producing content which showcases some of the incredible stories amongst Solace service users, and spent the day interviewing staff and clients.
Colleagues from The Panoply spent the day supporting a Brushstrokes programme in Queens Park. Brushstokes helps improve the lives of vulnerable residents who live in housing associations by carrying out home improvement projects that they are unable to do themselves. The team helped out at a redecorating project at Brook Court, an assisted living complex for people who are wheelchair bound.
“I thought the whole day was brilliant. Great time with the team, good to get to know the person we were helping and see the impact we could have on him and good to feel part of a bigger movement of hundreds of people doing great things on a single day.”
We’re just getting started
The above is just a selection of the great projects happening on the day. Others volunteered at their children’s schools, providing help in finance matters, homework sorting and weeding gardens. Notbinary Delivery Manager Lucy Hart is running 108 miles in September as part of Miles for Refugees, a British Red Cross event raising funds to support refugees throughout the UK. And James Herbert has taken on an official role at Lyme Disease UK, a charity that’s very close to his heart since his daughter Molly was bitten by an infected tick just over a year ago.
The feelings inspired across the group by Community Action Day have been overwhelmingly positive, with 70% of volunteers saying they ended the day with a better understanding of the social issue they were supporting, 60% reporting better relationships with colleagues, and 100% saying they were likely, or very likely, to volunteer again.
This was the first year of the Community Action Day, and it’s really laid down a marker for our commitment to ensuring that we engage positively and proactively with the communities in which we live and work. Rest assured, there’ll be a lot more to come.
We want to track community engagement to help us with our aim of donating 1% of our time. Please let us know about all of your volunteering.Log Your Volunteering