Over the past seven days, employees from across our site and office teams embraced Volunteers' Week by devoting their time and effort towards a range of different charitable causes. This worthy national event aims to raise awareness about the benefits of volunteering and the diverse range of volunteering opportunities that are available. In addition to the substantial benefits that volunteer work provides to charities, it can also have significant positive impacts on volunteers, such as teaching them new skills and boosting self- esteem.

In order to truly maximise this beneficial two-fold effect of volunteer work, Careys Foundation launched our volunteering initiative in 2016. It gives each Carey Group employee an opportunity to volunteer for a charity of their choice throughout the year. Many of us opt to do this during Volunteer’s Week.

Our contributions to this year’s national volunteering event was a success. It was fantastic to see our employees giving back to local communities participating in a wide range of activities that included gardening with local residents and providing support, food and warmth for the homeless.

Read on to find out more about some of our team members’ most memorable experiences during Volunteers’ Week:

Archbishop's Park - Tara McGovern and Robbie Brown

Archbishop's Park is a Green Flag award-winning park in Lambeth that provides a green space for the community to enjoy. This park boasts a number of impressive features, including a wildlife area, meadow and pond. There is also an allotment where pre-school children are taught how to grow food and visitors can enjoy home-grown produce.

Additionally, the park offers a gardening group for local residents, which is led by horticultural therapists. It’s provides a safe, peaceful space, where people can participate at their own pace, learning new skills and making new friends along the way.

Tara and Robbie helped with the upkeep of the meadows and ponds, planting in the Mediterranean garden and weeding. They also spent time with members of the gardening club.

I really enjoyed being outside for the day and doing something constructive. Fresh air really does help clear the mind! For those still looking for an opportunity to use your volunteer day, there are some amazing plans for future development at the park. Those with carpentry and ground work skills could make a huge difference.

Tara McGovern

Barnabus - Beacon Drop-in Centre - Campbell McGregor, Daniel Ronaldson, Steve Houseby, Judith Pabwaungana, Paul Bennett, Martin O'Brien and Alex Brown

The Barnabus - Beacon Drop-in Centre serves the homeless and other vulnerable groups in central Manchester. They offer a wide range of drop-in services – from offering English, Maths and IT classes to helping those sleeping rough to secure shelter. The centre also provides assistance with benefits, housing and employment training.

Our team helped out by serving breakfast to visitors and washing up after the meal. They were also tasked with distributing clean towels and clothes. One of our apprentices, Alex Brown, put his building skills to use by fixing some door handles and shelving.

The drop-in centre is a vital space for giving hope to vulnerable people in Manchester and helping them build new relationships. Overall, the volunteer day was a humbling experience.

Campbell McGregor

Wandsworth Foodbank - Angeliki Rarakou, Joseph Austin and Rachel Penfold

Wandsworth Foodbank helps local people in crisis by providing three days' worth of nutritionally balanced emergency food parcels. It is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, which is working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

Our team sorted through the food donations, helping to check the use-by dates and removing expired food. Once everything was categorised and moved into the warehouse, they then rotated the stock to free up space for new donations. They organised the surplus stock to be redistributed to other food banks in the borough and carried out an inventory check to assess current needs to determine where supplies are most required.

It was a physically hard-working day, as we had to lift a lot of boxes. But we all had a great time, working with lovely people and helping those in need. We felt very welcomed and would happily go back to lend a hand again.

Angeliki Rarako
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