On Friday 17th May James Lambert, our 2013 Community Director, took part in the national Give & Gain Day with some of his colleagues from leading accountancy firm Grant Thornton LLP. The project involved improving one of the playgrounds at St Mark’s Primary School in Shirley, Southampton to make it an area that could be used as an outdoor classroom space.
James wanted to share his experience of completing voluntary work in the local community……
“Give & Gain Day involves over 12,000 business volunteers, 300 companies, giving over 96,000 hours volunteering (worth over £1.5 million), all of which helps hundreds of thousands of people across UK communities. All on one day!
My employer, Grant Thornton, is a proud supporter of the national Give & Gain Day organised by Business in the Community. This year, the selected project was to go into St Mark’s Primary School in Shirley to renovate a playground with another local company, Arqiva. I was looking at ways to make a difference in my local area and was keen to get involved.
Busy painting the bus for the passengers to board
Whilst the meeting inspired us we were also daunted by the scale of the task ahead, but quickly rose to the challenge of designing the different areas which involved close liaison between Grant Thornton, Arqiva and the school to ensure that our ideas would work. The final design was to create an opportunity to role-play on a journey from the school to the Isle of Wight – Grant Thornton’s part included waiting at the bus-stop, catching the bus to the ferry terminal and buying a ticket to board the ferry to the Isle of Wight. Students could then use the area to measure the height of the people, work out the size of suitcases and use a ferry timetable to plan a journey.
The completed map to show the journey from Southampton to the Isle of Wight
We needed to raise cash to buy paint to decorate an external wall and a shed to be our ticket office. Fortunately, through fundraising in the office (cake sales, a raffle and a ‘guess the number of sweets in a jar’ competition) & also through the generosity of Grant Thornton, Wickes and CLC Paints, we had enough money to buy all of the necessary items.
In the week leading up to the big day we were worried about the weather, but fortunately it stayed dry all day. We managed to paint all of our area, put together the new ticket office and even had time to eat the odd biscuit or 3!
We definitely wouldn’t have achieved what we did without working as a team under the leadership of Haley Kitchen who did a great job in getting us all pulling in the same direction.
The highlight for me was definitely seeing the delighted faces of the Head Teacher and the children. Definitely a worthwhile experience and I look forward to next year’s project and would highly recommend you take part next year.”
The passengers are ready to board the bus at Southampton
If you would like to help the JCI Southampton team complete other examples of voluntary work in your local community, or have an idea for a project, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Drew Charman