I recently completed a volunteering day with St Benedict’s Hospice, organising and managing the flow of furniture to and from their new charity shop in Sunderland, helping them prepare for opening day. This was the first cross departmental volunteering venture for the North East Continuous Improvement Network designed to share cross government tools and continuous improvement expertise. The CI group worked with the Hospice to use CI tools to plan for the opening of the new shop and this was a chance to put the plans in action. I can honestly say it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding days that I have had in a long time!
The first challenge of the day was myself and fellow volunteer Karen trying to find our way to the venue, which we eventually did (amazing since I am terrible with directions!) Once we got there we met with event organiser Viv who introduced us to the rest of the volunteers, Alison, Pam, and Evelyn. The hard work was already in full flow as the dusters and hoovers were already out! Then the seriously hard work started when the furniture began to arrive from the warehouse. We pulled together as a team to decide what was going where, what we were going to keep and what was going to be sent back to the warehouse, then we set to work, drawing on our organisational skills to set the room up and get it looking as good as possible.
It was the hardest work I have done in ages, I must have burned about 1000 calories that day, moving, lifting and cleaning everything that came through the door, but the result was amazing! And the Chairman thought so too, giving us excellent feedback on what we had done for the shop.
The organisation and result was superb, way beyond my expectations. I couldn't believe that this was your first community venture and that you hadn't worked together as a team before. It just goes to show what people can achieve by combining their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm - Derek Moss, Chair of Trustees at St Benedicts Hospice.
I felt really proud to have taken part in this my first Employee Voluntering Day, working alongside colleagues from the cross government North East Continuous Improvement Network. Together we used our collective knowledge and expertise of continuous improvement techniques for the benefit of the local community to help transform an empty shop unit into an outstanding retail furniture outlet for St Benedicts Hospice in Sunderland - Alison Roach, Chair of the North East CI Network and one of the volunteers
Volunteers were recruited via Civil Service Live Newcastle and none of us had met before the day, so I was really proud of the way that we all worked together as a team. For me it really highlighted how different government departments can pull together when it really matters, and work towards a common goal to get the job done. And I couldn’t have worked with a better group of ladies!
I would highly recommend anyone to get involved in volunteering days through their department. You will get such satisfaction from it, meet new people and have loads of fun in the process!
Three days a year special leave for volunteering – guaranteed - Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service
Please keep checking the Civil Service Local Blog for cross-departmental volunteering opportunities and keep an eye out for volunteering opportunities that your department may have to offer.