3 June

City companies celebrate National Volunteers Week

To celebrate National Volunteers Week taking place from 3-9 June, The Lord Mayor’s Appeal asked City Giving Day participants to share their inspiring volunteering stories.

From using company allocated volunteer time to help at a local food bank to  creating community champions – read the difference companies are making within the City community and beyond below….

Sally Yiallouros, UK Corporate Responsibility Lead at EY 

“Volunteering is one of the ways we live by our EY purpose of building a better working world, and my role as Corporate Responsibility Lead for EY UK is helping to facilitate that. We enable our people to give back to society in any way they choose by giving them two days leave every year for volunteering . This could be through their child’s primary school as a governor, at a local food bank or through an activity delivered via EY Ripples – our global corporate responsibility programme.  

EY Ripples aims to positively impact one billion lives globally by 2030. Together with clients and other like-minded organisations, EY people use their distinctive skills, knowledge and experience to bring positive change across three focus areas: supporting the next generation workforce, working with impact entrepreneurs and accelerating environmental sustainability. One of my favourite examples of this is Coder Dojo at EY, an initiative that teaches children how to code. It’s interactive, joyful and incredibly rewarding for the volunteers when they see children as young as 7 present back the most amazing projects at the end of the session. 

I’m also currently volunteering as a mentor for participants on our Masters of Sustainability programme, which we run in collaboration with Hult Business School. Participants have been tasked with designing a high-impact EY Ripples initiative for EY to take forward and scale across the globe – it’s exciting to be a part of something that could potentially benefit the lives of thousands.”

James Mills, Associate Director at Hays

“As part of our partnership with EveryYouth, 50 Hayes colleagues participated in our reach your peak challenge. This meant walking ten peaks in ten days to raise an amazing £50,000 to help support people ages 16-24 experiencing homelessness. We’ve also developed a UK wide pro-bono end-to-end employability programme to support disadvantaged young people who are currently being assisted by EveryYouth.”

Hind Naciri, Regional Head, Community Impact & Engagement, Europe Corporate Affairs, Brand & Marketing at Standard Chartered Bank

“This year, UK Volunteer Week coincides with Standard Chartered’s global Volunteer Month and throughout June, we are celebrating our volunteers, highlighting the impact they make through donating their time and organising events and training to enable more colleagues to get involved in activities that help transform communities. 

Employee volunteering is fundamental to the Bank’s culture, a core component of our community engagement strategy and shows our commitment to create a positive impact in the communities where we operate. We offer every employee three days paid leave annually to volunteer and organise activities, such as fundraising and set participation and skills-based targets to encourage our colleagues to give back to our communities and support their own wellbeing.Last year, over a third of our UK workforce took part in volunteering.

Jessica Frot, a London-based employee, has mentored and helped review student CVs and LinkedIn profiles. She says. “I find that volunteering is a powerful force for good, benefiting both those communities and individuals which I volunteer for and myself. It fosters a sense of belonging and connection by bringing people together around common causes, enriching lives, strengthening bonds and creating a more equitable and compassionate world for all. It also promotes personal growth and development, offering opportunities to learn and expand my own perspective.”

Many of our volunteers share knowledge and skills  to support our communities through Futuremakers, our global youth economic empowerment initiative to help disadvantaged young people to learn, earn and grow. Our award-winning UK Futuremakers programme, RISE, is powered by some of these volunteers and they regularly deliver insights, share skills and mentor young talent from historically underrepresented communities. Their contribution to the programme’s success is priceless.

One young person on our RISE programme said, “I had a fantastic experience engaging and networking with senior management professionals representing various departments within Standard Chartered. Their wealth of experience and expertise provided me with valuable insights and invaluable advice that I can incorporate into my own career journey”. Another added, “I’ve had my CV updated and was given feedback on what to improve, which has helped me a lot with applying for graduate roles. My mentor has also arranged for me to have an insight launch with 4 Standard Chartered graduates and I can’t wait.”

Whether it’s skills based volunteering, environmental initiatives or other forms community outreach, we are very proud of all those supporting our communities through volunteering.”

Cressida Lane, PA at Janus Henderson

“At Janus Henderson, we believe it’s important for our employees to be actively engaged in global volunteering and service in order to build an employee culture that attracts and retains the best talent, serves the communities where we live and extends the Janus Henderson brand. We’re proud to have Janus Henderson Community Champions to assist in our community and employee engagement initiative.

In the UK we support a variety of charities in and around London primarily focussing on youth and education, food poverty and try and find volunteering opportunities which will make the most difference to communities.

I think it’s great to give a bit back to the community. We spend a lot of our time involved in the world of financial markets which isn’t so much about the real world sometimes it can be a little bit abstract, and it’s nice to be able to do something concrete, hands-on. Volunteer working on a playground renovation with The Childhood Trust.”

Rebecca Howie, Data Solutions Senior Manager, Private Assets at Fidelity International 

“In the shadows of the Tottenham Hotspur football stadium in North London is a little oasis.  For lots of the children growing up in this underprivileged area, it provides a safe space where they can be kids, learn to take risks, learn new skills, make friends, and just play. Haringey Play Association offers an outdoor adventure playground run by an inspiring and passionate team. The space aims to be forever evolving to incorporate ideas from the children themselves.

Our teams of volunteers from across Fidelity International assist with this continual evolution. Days at Haringey Play Association consist of building new structures that the children have dreamt up (where they aren’t building the structures themselves), painting the playground to brighten up the space and general site maintenance such as clearing weeds. A day at Haringey Play Association wouldn’t be complete without volunteers trying out the playground for themselves, whether this is jumping off a 3ft platform or sliding down the 10m tower! The day offers a fantastic opportunity to give back to the local community, mix with colleagues, all whilst learning more about Haringey Play Association and what they do.”

As part of The Lord Mayor’s Appeal’s commitment to create a fair society, City Giving Day is the one day in the year which enables businesses and employees to come together to celebrate and showcase their charitable and volunteering achievements. City Giving Day 2024 will take place on Tuesday 24 September.

Register for City Giving Day here 

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