Oli Richardson (above right) with colleague and Caritas Anchor House CEO Amanda Dubarry (centre) at the first innovation hub planning meeting
January 2020 – Volunteer of the Month
The first Volunteer of the Month for 2020 is Oli Richardson of Accenture. Oli has been recognised for spearheading an exciting and creative project focused on addressing a problem related to homelessness, resulting in a full day innovation hub hosted at the Accenture offices. Over six months, Oli worked closely with Caritas Anchor House, a homelessness charity based in Newham, to understand a key strategic challenge they face. He then engaged a team of Accenture volunteers to carry out extensive research and preparation for the innovation hub, a day-long workshop to identify potential solutions to the challenge.
The innovation hub presented a unique opportunity for Caritas Anchor House to benefit from the consultancy skills and expertise of Accenture volunteers. Oli led a team of volunteers that facilitated a range of activities designed to generate prospective solutions. By the end of the day Caritas Anchor House had a number of innovative ideas to take forward, which Oli is continuing to support them with.
Oli’s work demonstrates the impact of volunteers using their professional business skills to support community organisations. Caritas Anchor House were incredibly happy with the support and result of the innovation hub. CEO Amanda Dubarry said:
“We have been delighted to work with Oli on the tricky subject of sourcing and affording more move on accommodation options for people experiencing homelessness who are currently in short term hostel accommodation. Oli has brought such drive to this project and has pulled on the wider team, his significant skills and the resources at Accenture to mobilise some really great work for us. He is clearly a very busy guy but has been dedicated to taking on this project and pioneering a new way for Accenture staff to approach their time on corporate social responsibility projects. Best of all, he is an absolute pleasure to deal with. Thank you so much Oli, you’re a star.”
We asked Oli to tell us about his volunteering experience.
Why did you volunteer?
I volunteered because I wanted to try and use my consulting and innovation experience to try and do something about homelessness in London. Ultimately, I was tired of talking about how horrendous the issue was but at the same time doing nothing about it. I wanted to see if I could use my charity days to do something good around the issue, and I wanted to see if I could get some of my colleagues to do the same so we could collectively leverage our days, and therefore the impact we could have.
What have you gained from your volunteering experience?
I have learnt a tremendous amount. On the one hand, it has taught me a great deal about the issue of homelessness; how the issue cuts across so many other areas such as housing, mental health and inequality. From the project, I now have a far more in-depth understanding of the systemic nature of the issue but also how there is so much that can be done to address it.
From a more personal perspective, it showed me what can be achieved by having an idea, a passion and trying to do something about it. The project started as an idea but with empowerment and support, both internally at Accenture and from ELBA, we were able to turn that idea into a reality. By doing the project, I’ve learnt a whole range of skills that I would not have had the chance or opportunity to develop. We got opportunities to shape the project and try different and innovative techniques that would have been tricky outside of this setting.
I’ve left the project with a greater skill set but also with greater belief that I can, through my work, have a positive impact on the world.
Would you recommend volunteering to a colleague and if so, why?
Yes, 100% – it made me love the work I do and feel valuable and proud of what I do.
Congratulations to Oli on a fantastic piece of volunteering.
If you think that you could use your professional skills to support local charities then please contact Jonathan Tait via Jonathan.Tait@elba-1.org.uk.