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Celebrating our colleague volunteers during Volunteers’ Week

Date published: 5 June 2023

Read time: 3 minutes

IT colleagues volunteering at Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter to do some gardening.

This Volunteers’ Week, we want to celebrate all of our colleagues who are helping to make a difference by giving back to their communities.

Organised by the National Council for Voluntary Organisation (NCVO), Volunteers’ Week is annual celebration that runs from 1-7 June and recognises the fantastic contribution volunteers make to their communities, the wider voluntary sector, and society as a whole.

All of our colleagues are entitled to two paid volunteering days every year, and so far in 2023, they’ve already volunteered more than 400 working days to a variety of causes.

Much of the volunteering work has been coordinated through our 20-strong team of Community Ambassadors, who work across our branch network and head office, taking on this role alongside their day-to-day work.

One such ambassador is Neil Edmondson, our Head of IT Customer & Compliance.

A group of colleagues volunteering at a parkrun in Newcastle.

Over the course of the year, Neil has organised three volunteer takeovers of the weekly Parkrun on Newcastle’s Town Moor, the most recent one of which tied in with the our annual fundraising event, ‘Our Society Our 5K’.

Neil, fourth from the right

Alongside regularly organising Parkrun takeovers for colleagues across the Society, Neil also often leads departmental volunteering visits.

This year, he and colleagues from our IT team have volunteered at Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter, at Leazes Park during Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean; and at St Lawrence Park in Byker to help Urban Green Newcastle, the independent charity responsible for the management and upkeep of the city’s 33 parks, undertake a major clean-up operation.

Neil says: “Community is absolutely at the centre of everything that the Society does, and giving back in practical ways to the places in which we’re based is extremely important to all of us.

“When we arrived at St Lawrence Park and were briefed by Urban Green Newcastle on the various different tasks with which they wanted our help, it was all a bit overawing, but by the end of the morning, we were amazed at how much we’d got done and what a difference it had made to the park environment."

IT colleagues volunteering at a park in Newcastle to do some litter picking.

“One person spending three hours on a project makes a difference, but get 25 people involved for the same length of time and you can achieve a huge amount."

“It’s not just the groups that we work with that benefit from our volunteering projects.  Spending time connecting with colleagues from your own and other teams really helps to build relationships across the business, and on a personal level, seeing how your work has made a difference in the community is very satisfying.”

As the North East’s largest building society, we’re much more than just our financial products and services. We’re committed to our communities and strive to make a positive impact across the region.

We’re proud to see that our colleagues’ passion for volunteering has continued to go from strength to strength following last year’s success, and that they’re continuing to make a difference.

Download the press release here

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