Can businesses be volunteers?! The Volunteer Centre Lambeth, based on Station Road, certainly think so. They’ve launched a new programme called Engage Lambeth which aims to bring local businesses and community groups together to create positive social change. Anna Richardson of Volunteer Centre Lambeth tells us more about their project.
The aim of Engage Lambeth is to bring together businesses and community organisations in the borough to share time and skills through volunteering. We believe that mutually beneficial partnerships can be built between business and community groups and these partnerships will have a positive impact on the Lambeth community as a whole. We’re doing this through something called Employer-Supported Volunteering (ESV). ESV allows employees within an organisation to get involved with volunteering with the support of their employer. Our aim is to promote volunteering to employers across Brixton, and Lambeth as a whole. By getting involved in your local community, employees can make a significant contribution, whilst learning new skills and improving their employers’ reputation in the community
The Engage Lambeth team has been working with local organisations to find out where they would value corporate support. From this research – and our knowledge of the borough as a whole – we have decided to focus the Engage Lambeth scheme on tackling key issues such as education and employability. We know that businesses can bring their time, their role as a local employer and their employee’s skills to help tackle some of the major social challenges in the borough.
We are inviting companies and employers to join the Engage Lambeth scheme as members. All members will receive support from the Engage Lambeth team to identify volunteering activities, to develop community partnerships and programmes and to deliver meaningful events in the local community. We sup
port business and communities to make the most of their relationships, and provide support to measure the impact of these partnerships.
Employers who join the Engage Lambeth programme will chose areas where they want to focus their support. This might be offering business and strategic planning support to community organisation, supporting a local college with the issues of employability or working in a primary school and helping to support reading programmes.
Why join Engage Lambeth’s programme? Well, not only will you be making a positive contribution to the local community, but our volunteer activities will help to develop leadership skills, improve employee engagement and develop brand value and recognition for companies within the local community. We design and develop volunteering programmes that bring true value to both the corporate and community partner.
Engage Lambeth has been going for just a few weeks, but already we have identified numerous ways for employers to engage with the local community.
One example of an Engage Lambeth opportunity that local companies might want to get involved with is focused around employability. Companies who chose this opportunity will work with a local community group of young people aged 14-16. The Engage Lambeth team will help the volunteers from the company develop and run a workshop on the type of qualities that are essential in the world of work. The young people will then be given the opportunity to visit the company offices to help them get a feel for what an office environment is like. The young people will be introduced to the managers of the company who will spend some time talking to them about the different career paths they have had.
For local employees, these experiences are challenging, memorable and always an incredibly positive experience. Just by talking about your own career path, and by offering your experience and encouragement to others, you can make a significant difference to a young person seeking to enter the world of employment – something it is easy to take for granted! This type of employability workshop and office visit will help young people understand the importance of education, work experience and qualities such as being punctual and having a hard working attitude. It will also engage the volunteers in developing a workshop that draws on their own skills and experiences and gets them to think about how to convey information to a totally new audience. The office visit allows young people from the borough who might have never been in a professional office environment the chance to see what a working office is like and to talk to experienced and successful members for the community.
As we grow, we hope to hear from more businesses and community groups who wish to get involved with Engage Lambeth. If you would like to find out more about the Engage Lambeth programme then please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7326 5480.