How local businesses are helping Willen Hospice by volunteering

Businesses across Milton Keynes have been carrying out vital work to help Willen Hospice behind the scenes, particularly in its retail outlets.

Volunteers from local companies have been helping out at the charity, to support Hospice colleagues in carrying out practical tasks ranging from sorting donations to merchandising stores. In the past year alone, 93 volunteers have given up 425 hours in total to volunteer, representing significant cost-savings for Willen Hospice.

Mark Rawlins, Associate Director of Commercial said: “I am hugely grateful for the volunteering work that our corporate volunteers do for Willen Hospice retail. When members of the public kindly donate goods to us, we can only resell these items as fast as we can sort and process them onto our shop floor. Volunteers are invaluable in helping us to carry out such an enormous amount of ongoing work.

“Businesses tell us that their colleagues find volunteering helpful in getting to know each other outside of work. It’s a chance for them to step away from their own day to day routine and develop a range of leadership and problem-solving skills in a neutral environment. Often, having seen first-hand the challenges that we face, they are later able to find other ways of supporting us. This could include donating their end of line stock, nominating Willen Hospice as their chosen charity, match funding or sponsoring events.”

Ingram Micro recently brought a team of colleagues from various departments, to volunteer in the Willen Hospice Grafton Gate Clearance Store. Ayisha Fabri, Senior Cisco Sales Specialist said “It gave us an opportunity to connect with each other in a relaxed setting, do something good for charity and feel a great sense of reward.”

Keith Gibbs, Programme Manager at Network Rail said “Fantastic day helping to sort donations with Willen Hospice to raise valuable funds so they can continue to provide care and support to those that need it. Great teamwork and team building giving something back to our local community and proud that Network Rail allows staff to take 5 days volunteer leave. Rewarding and exhausting as felt like a real workout with an extra 7000 steps.”

Marianne Bearton, Digital Marketing Manager at Volkswagen UK said “A team of nine from Volkswagen Digital within our Marketing team did a day volunteering at the Willen Hospice Clearance Store to support an amazing local charity. It was a great day for collaboration and working as a team, doing something completely different and useful. We really enjoyed helping Willen Hospice with sorting donations and hanging out clothing in the shop. It was a really interesting day meeting the team and wonderful volunteers.”

Marianne continues “Experiencing what goes on behind the scenes, the scale of the back-office operation and what happens to all the donations from the public was an eye opener. It was also really good to do something completely different to the office day job and really appreciate that Volkswagen offers their employees a special volunteer day to help their local community which is an awesome opportunity that we should all make the most of.“

Nikki Poole, Community Fundraising Manager at Willen Hospice said “Our local vaccination clinics would simply not have been able to run efficiently without around 70 volunteers giving up their time to cover up to 120 hours each week. This is a fantastic source of additional funds for us, as Willen Hospice receives £10 for every person who volunteers for us. This is an ideal way for your own colleagues to spend a couple of hours out of the office, working together”

Peta Wilkinson, Willen Hospice Chief Executive, said “We are a charity who receive only about 18% of our funding from the NHS; the rest has to be fundraised from the local community. The work that corporate volunteers do for us behind the scenes is a vital and resource that we deeply value”

Other volunteering opportunities include photographing and listing items to sell on eBay, packing and posting items, painting and decorating, gardening and estate maintenance, replanning shop floor spaces, professional mentorship and training.

Companies wishing to find out more about volunteering can contact Jamie or Tom at corporate@willen-hospice.org.uk

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