Give and Gain Day, 15th May 2015, offers Croydon employees the chance to volunteer in their communities

By - Friday 15th May, 2015

On Friday 15th May, as national Give and Gain Day marks the role of employees volunteering in local community organisations, the event will be marked at a gathering in Waitrose on George Street, central Croydon. 

Image by Business In The Community, used with permission.

Release begins: As the new government says it would require public sector employers and companies to give staff up to three days a year to do voluntary work, only a week after the election over 15,500 people across the country head out to give back to their community on the UK’s largest celebration of employee volunteering.

  • UK’s only national day of employee volunteering happening today (15 May)
  • Yet three quarters of employees in the UK either do not know or aren’t aware of their employer having a volunteering scheme.
  • Employees swap the office, factory and store to volunteer in their communities for Give & Gain Day 2015
  • Waitrose, BT, Lloyds Banking Group and Carillion are amongst companies volunteering

In the lead up to last week’s election the Conservatives announced they would pass a new law that would require public sector employers and companies with more than 250 employees to give staff up to three days a year to do voluntary work.

A week on from the Conservative victory at the polls, new research published by the Prince of Wales’ charity Business in the Community to mark Give & Gain Day 2015 – the UK’s largest celebration of employee volunteering – suggests that three quarters (76%) of workers* in the UK either do not know (56%) or aren’t aware (20%) of their employer having a volunteering scheme.

The Ipsos MORI survey of 2,174 online adults aged 18+ in Great Britain assessed views on business behaviour. Among workers, it found around only one in 20 (6%) reporting that they have used their employer’s volunteering scheme. A further 1 in 20 (5%) are aware of their employer’s volunteering scheme, but their primary reason for not using it is a lack of time.

Approximately 70% of FTSE 100 companies already having a volunteering programme, yet participation and awareness of these programmes remains stubbornly low.

These findings demonstrate that the presence of a volunteering policy and the number of days given by employers is not the chief challenge. Raising awareness of a policy, as well as motivating staff to volunteer, is the key to unlocking the potential of the UK workforce to support local communities.

Give & Gain Day aims to address misconceptions around volunteering and raise awareness of its power by engaging thousands of people on one day to take part. Over 15,500 business volunteers from well over 100 companies will give almost 109,000 hours volunteering time today, an invaluable investment worth over £1.9 million that will benefit  hundreds of community organisations. Participants are helping in schools, day centres and youth groups doing everything from delivering employability workshops and CV training for the long-term unemployed to supporting school sports days. The initiative aims to encourage and challenge many more businesses to invest time in their communities.

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community, said: “We recognise that employee volunteering can be challenging for many employers and therefore look forward to understanding more of the detail behind the Conservative government’s proposal, but potentially this could be a great thing for not only charities and local communities, but also employers and their employees. Volunteering is a powerful tool which builds dialogue and relationships between groups of people and organisations who might otherwise not have the opportunity to engage in a community. It also offers genuine mutual benefit – the experience both builds skills and motivates employees, while helping to make a positive contribution that meets community needs. Give & Gain Day is all about celebrating what can be achieved in communities through the power of volunteers – and we commend the hundreds of business and individuals involved across the UK today.

“Our research suggests there is more to be done to embed volunteering as part of everyday business with three quarters of employees saying they do not know if volunteering in work time is available to them and just 6% taking the opportunity to volunteer. We urge many more business to get involved in volunteering and ask those who are involved to use it as a springboard into deeper long term business engagement in their local area.”

A range of organisations, from The Jamie Oliver Foundation and the Scouts to schools and small community groups are set to benefit from the time, expertise and skills of the business volunteers taking part in today’s initiative. Leading employers in the UK are supporting the day, including Waitrose, Carillion, BT and Lloyds Banking Group.

This year Give & Gain Day is focusing on the simple power of conversation. Rarely do community organisations and business get to talk. This means that businesses often don’t know what challenges communities are facing and the type of help they need, and community organisations don’t know what support business is willing and able to offer. Give & Gain Day brings thousands of business people and hundreds of community organisations together, creating a unique opportunity to talk. Hundreds of Community Conversations will be happening across the country as part of the volunteering activity, and Business in the Community hopes these will unlock the potential for collaboration across sectors, leading to long-term relationships.

Tina Varns, Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing Manager at Waitrose, sponsors of Give & Gain Day, comments “Volunteering is such an important part of what we do – each of our shops supports its staff to volunteer for local good causes. Waitrose donates 75,000 paid hours a year for partners to give their time and skills to support local good causes. This will really come alive on Give & Gain Day, when our branches will link up local organisations – businesses and voluntary organisations – to make the sum of the parts greater than the whole.  Community Conversations will encourage open and honest dialogue about the skill and capacity gaps facing the community, and how different sectors can work together.

Ms Varns added: “Over 1000 of our partners were involved in Give and Gain Day last year. Our branches all reported it was such a rewarding event, supporting the health and wellbeing of our local communities. We’re really looking forward to today’s activity. Volunteering is a key way in which businesses such as ours can help make a real and visible difference to the communities in which we operate.”

 Give & Gain Day participants in the UK are in good company, joining a global movement of approximately 26,000 volunteers across 20 countries as diverse as Spain, Iran, and Mexico.

Sponsored by Waitrose and in association with BT, Give & Gain Day 2015 is dedicated to getting thousands of employees out of the office, store or factory to volunteer in their local communities. By making volunteering fun, accessible and inspirational Business in the Community aims to make it something that all businesses give their staff an opportunity to do in work time.

Release ends.

Release sender: Business in the Community.



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  • Anne Giles

    What a wonderful idea!!