Celebrating Volunteer of the Year 2016 – and looking to the next 10,000+ volunteers!

 In Blog, CEO's blog, Community

A large part of ELBA’s business is employer supported volunteering (ESV). Each year ELBA business partners support well over 10,000 employee volunteers. That is truly amazing. They are involved in a wide range of activities supporting communities and organisations, from cooking with the elderly, to environmental improvements, to “Dragon’s Den” sessions with school pupils, to supporting unemployed young people – and so on. The range is mind-boggling.

There has been a steady upward trend in the rise of employer supported volunteering. A recent report by ELBA supporters Accenture showed that from 2010-2011 to 2013-2014, the percentage of people in paid work participating in ESV increased from 10.5 to 13.3. And it is expected to rise further, becoming the norm for most workplaces. Certainly we at ELBA believe there is some way to go. Although ELBA is one of the larger providers of volunteering opportunities, at 10,000+ each year we are scratching the surface of the 120,000 people who work in Canary Wharf and the 450,000 employees in the City – our two main recruiting areas.

However, I think the trend will continue upwards. It’s tempting for us to ascribe to volunteering the solutions to the world’s ills. It is well documented that volunteering can help support mental well-being; it can support development of new skills and leadership; and of course it does no end of good in the community and can transform the lives of young people. The Accenture report backs this up:

  • 89% of volunteers reported increased job satisfaction.
  • 87% of volunteers reported greater pride in the company.
  • Volunteering develops people and fundamentally strengthens the business – 76% of volunteers said they developed core work skills.
  • Volunteering can develop stronger customer relationships – 17% of volunteers said volunteering had helped them to develop stronger client relationships.

So in among all the amazing things happening everyday in ELBA-land, how do you pick out one volunteering story to show what can be achieved. Well each month we have Volunteer of the Month – see the stories on our website. And once per year from those twelve we select Volunteer of the Year.

We have just announced that our 2016 Volunteer of the Year is Andy Clark, Head of Hospitality and Food Service at XL Catlin for Harbour and Jones. Andy has devised cooking sessions with the elderly, supported a social enterprise and supported work experience. Speaking about volunteering Andy says:

“I think volunteering it’s a great leveller and gives yourself a sense that it does not matter how much we earn or what we possess that we are all vulnerable and help other people is the absolute right thing to do as one day we may need a kind hand to help us and also you are giving back which is far more important than taking.”

So well done Andy, for showing us all the power of volunteering. Here’s to the next 10,000 volunteers and beyond. Bring them on!

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