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Suffolk County Council’s staff member uses Employer Supported Volunteering time as a trustee

Anita Abram, System Liaison Officer in CYP and UNISON rep, uses her two days paid volunteering leave from Suffolk County Council to support a charity dedicated to teaching and preserving fine art printing by volunteering as a trustee.

The Curwen Print Study Centre based in Cambridgeshire was busy raising money to move to a new premises in Great Thurlow, West Suffolk to expand their teaching, provide a membership scheme for artists and open a new gallery and archive for the public. It also offers courses to people from children aged 8 through to adults. This includes its popular Out Class programme teaching children and young people in their schools, and a bursary scheme for children and young people to develop their art portfolios for GCSE and A Level.

The Centre’s history dates back to 1863, and they own a hugely important array of work in its print and document archive – from Henry Moore to Barbara Hepworth, Paula Rego to Edward Bawden, the list is truly endless.

Lorraine Chitson, the Centre Director said, “Suffolk County Council provided practical support to our charity when they knew we were relocating to Suffolk. This has included a site visit from our local councillor Bobby Bennett, help with risk assessments during the pandemic, advice from its external grants team and paid time off for Anita Abram under its volunteering policy as she is one of our trustees. Our fundraising campaign, which was designed by Firebrand Creative an Ipswich based design agency, has raised £165,000 so far! The county of Suffolk has embraced and welcomed the Curwen Print Study Centre with open arms, and we have moved into our purpose built premises in Great Thurlow Suffolk.”

Anita has also worked with, Daisy Akers at Suffolk County Council in Human Resources to update the volunteering policy in her role as UNISON rep. She says, “It’s now very clear about the 2-day entitlement for paid volunteering leave, staff are actively encouraged to volunteer and there is an expectation that managers should support this where every possible and see it as a positive. I would encourage anyone who has not been involved in volunteering to consider it, and for those that are already involved to use their allocated paid volunteering leave. You can develop your skills while giving something back to the community.”

Community Action Suffolk and Volunteer Suffolk are actively encouraging charities and employers to get involved with Employer Supported volunteering and further information, support and advice can be found by emailing volunteering@communityactionsufolk.org.uk