Last month eight members of staff took part in a day of volunteering, working hard to restore the gardens of Edward’s Trust, a local charity in Edgbaston, to their former glory. Staff undertook a range of activities during the day including weeding, planting, pruning, mowing lawns and laying bark chippings.
Edward’s Trust is a charity that offers a range of support services to bereaved families and children. It provides training and consultancy services for school staff, parents or others working with bereaved children and their families. Edward House in Edgbaston also helps to provide accommodation for families whilst their child is receiving treatment at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. More information about the work of Edward’s Trust.
Sarah Hosten, Assistant Professional Development Advisor in Staff Development and organiser of the challenge, said:“It was great to see so much enthusiasm and commitment from all who attended, and this was reflected in the fantastic restoration of the gardens and car park, not to mention the number of refuse sacks we filled!”
As part of Aston’s commitment to community engagement, the University has agreed that staff who are registered with the Staff Volunteering Scheme are eligible for (subject to line manager's approval):
two working days (15 hours) paid time off each year, to participate in a wide range of voluntary opportunities in the local area
the option to continue to volunteer beyond these two days, using your own annual leave or flexi-time. If you do this, the University will match this hour for hour up to two more days
in short, for six days (45 hours) of volunteering you only need contribute 15 hours of your own leave or flexi-time!
Staff volunteering is a great way to pursue an interest, learn new skills, have some fun and help the local community. If you haven’t already used this year’s volunteering entitlement, or would like to volunteer for the very first time, there’s a staff volunteering challenge taking place on Thursday 21 July and you can still sign up to take part. The challenge is to transform an overgrown and under-utilised area of land in Falcon Lodge, to enable local schools and residents to make better use of the area, which was once used regularly for recreational and educational purposes.
For further details about staff volunteering or to get involved in any aspect of volunteering, please contact Sarah Hosten on ext 4607 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Friday 29 July a free lunch is on offer for those staff who wish to find out more about volunteering and for those who have taken part in volunteering this year. It’s between 12:30 – 2pm. Contact Sarah for more details or to sign up (numbers required for catering purposes).
Words by Louise Russell
4 July 2011