Volunteer's Week 2020

Volunteers' Week 2020

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Written by Angela Halliday, Social Impact Director, Sodexo UK & Ireland

If there was ever a time to celebrate the brilliant ways our colleagues have been supporting local communities, it’s now.

Volunteers' Week (1 to 7 June) is a chance to say thank you to those who have been giving back to their neighbours, local charities and businesses, both during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and before it took hold, and I always love hearing from my Sodexo colleagues about the charitable work they do.

Because this is what makes our people so special. At Sodexo, we pride ourselves on recruiting the right people based on our shared values. Through volunteering and pro-bono activity, you are living those values, and it is only right that we celebrate this contribution to society.

Sodexo gives all employees three days' paid leave for volunteering each year. While many people volunteer to support Stop Hunger charities, there is also the opportunity to use one of those days to help a charity of your choice – a cause close to your heart.

A positive of the Covid-19 crisis has been seeing how people have taken to citizenship volunteering, whether that’s through formal routes such as the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, or more informally through their own networks.

My own experience of this has been through supporting my parents and their neighbours. Taking inspiration from something I’d seen on the news, I pushed a note through the doors of my parents’ neighbours’ houses, asking them to call me if they needed any supplies. I also said that my Mum likes to talk so included her number in case others fancied a chat!

Since then, I’ve been making regular drop-offs with supplies, and my Mum is having regular calls with neighbours she may not have spoken to before extending our community circles.

People are so grateful for their supplies, but more so when we have a socially-distanced chat when I drop off their shopping – you can see their faces light up, and that’s so rewarding for me.

Studies have shown that as well as helping others, volunteering can improve your wellbeing, too. It’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out, and it can also help you gain valuable new skills, experiences and boost your confidence.

A really valuable way of giving back to small business or charities is through skills-based volunteering. A company like ours, with over 40,000 employees, has a wealth of skills and experiences that we can offer, and I’ve heard of colleagues who have supported their local church with their accounting, to parents acting as School Governors. All of this superb work counts, and we want to hear about it, celebrate it and inspire others to do the same.

To anyone who is volunteering in their communities, in whatever guise that takes, my plea to you is that you record it on Stop Hunger’s The Goodness Platform. It will only take a couple of minutes, but you could inspire many of your colleagues into their own volunteering activities.

With this information, we can also understand what our employees are interested in and passionate about, developing new ways to create more citizenship volunteering opportunities that make a meaningful social impact across the communities where we work and live.

And importantly, by recording your volunteering, you can help inform our thinking and decision making when developing how we as a business can help tackle the challenges faced by our clients and customers.

Because after all, that’s what is at the heart of Sodexo’s ethos: improving the quality of life of those we serve, and you are a very important part of that! Let’s make the biggest impact we can through volunteering.

Tell us about your volunteering

Log your volunteering activity, Stop Hunger-related or not, on The Goodness Platform.

For more volunteering guidance, information and support, please visit the Your_Sodexo page here.

The Stop Hunger emergency relief fund

If you are unable to safely volunteer at this time, in line with Sodexo's current guidance, you can continue to show your support by donating to the Stop Hunger emergency relief fund.

Please click here to donate. All the funds raised via this link will go directly to Stop Hunger's charity partners The Trussell Trust and FareShare.


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