“Employer Supported Volunteering” (ESV) is the focus of this year’s conference, organised by Community Action Suffolk and supported by BT.
ESV is when employees are given time off to pursue volunteering opportunities during work time. The event will bring together Suffolk’s businesses and voluntary organisations in order to learn from each other and create mutually beneficial relationships.
Here’s how it works!
Skanska staff worked with Eden-Rose Coppice Trust, a charity that provides respite for people with cancer, outdoor fun and educational programmes for children including those with special educational needs and outdoor volunteering opportunities for the local community,
One of Community Action Suffolk’s roles is to connect local charities with local business in this way, encouraging “Employer Supported Volunteering”. CAS supports employers to bring together their workforce and donate some volunteering time to good causes.
Brickmakers Wood’s story
“Our woodland management plan is designed to create habitats in order to increase biodiversity. However, it’s also important that Brickmakers Wood has areas that are original, usable and stimulating. We provide support for a wide variety of people from the local area and the invaluable help from Skanska directly supports them.
“As a small but growing charity at the start of a new project, we were thrilled when Jo Belfield from Community Action Suffolk (CAS) connected us to one of UK’s largest construction companies, Skanska, who wanted to do some corporate volunteering in Ipswich. It is so difficult for smaller charities with turnovers of less than £100,000 to find companies that are willing to give up their time to less known charities, who are arguably the ones that need the help most at the start of their projects.” Jo Brooks, Manager.
The team of 11 Skanska staff spent three days at Brickmakers Wood, next to Alexandra Park, helping to transform the neglected and misused woodland in the centre of Ipswich. Skanska is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups and showed what their employees could do by turning Jo’s dream into a reality. The unique woodland amphitheatre, was built by the employees, with turf donated by Sovereign Turf Company (the same suppliers for Ipswich Town Football Club) and offers the perfect setting for performances for children including those with special needs, group talks, music therapy and more.
Jacquie, one of the Skanska employees that took part in creating the amphitheatre, was so blown away by Brickmakers Wood’s fantastic project that she subsequently ran a 10k race in Colchester to help raise important funds that will allow them to create wheelchair friendly pathways, allowing public access on certain days to the wood. Jacquie more than doubled her fundraising target!
The Suffolk Volunteering Conference will be held on 17 May 2018 at Adastral Park, 10am to 3:30pm.
Places costs £25 for CAS members, £35 for non-members (find out about free CAS membership here).
For more information on the conference, visit here.