Gatehouse Bank celebrates Volunteers’ Week
The 1st – 7th June marks Volunteers’ Week, which was first organised in 1984 by Volunteering England and is now coordinated by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. The week was created as a time for people to share their stories and further connect with their communities, as well as to allow people to highlight different ways that they can volunteer and celebrate everyone’s hard work. For businesses, Volunteers’ Week is a time to promote volunteering opportunities for colleagues and thank those who have taken part in helping their communities.
The importance of volunteering in doing good for society and boosting wellbeing is becoming increasingly widely recognised. This is supported by research undertaken by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) whose survey revealed that, of the 20 million people who took part in a volunteering opportunity in 2019, 96% of those who participated were happy with their experience.
Volunteering opportunities come in many shapes and sizes, meaning that there are activities to suit everyone and different lifestyles. This includes short-term, long-term or virtual opportunities for individuals or groups, as well as event-based volunteering such as organising a local fete and skills-based opportunities such as mentoring young people.
Advantages of volunteering
Volunteering not only does good for the community, society and environment, but also has a number of positive mental and physical effects, including:
- Helping people gain valuable skills that they can take forward in their lives and use to benefit themselves and others
- Boosting self-confidence and providing a natural sense of accomplishment
- Encouraging and fostering new relationships and connecting communities to one another
- Creating positive experiences. A survey by the NVCO found that volunteers benefitted from their volunteering activities in a number of ways, with enjoyment being the highest rated (93%)
For businesses taking part in Volunteers’ Week or promoting volunteering initiatives all year round, there are several benefits, including:
- Increasing employee retention as colleagues see paid volunteering days as an extra perk, which will entice applicants and boost wellbeing in the workplace
- Helping to engage with colleagues, foster teamwork and connect them with a larger purpose
Volunteering at Gatehouse Bank
Gatehouse Bank is a Shariah-compliant bank with an ethical focus. We aim to provide fair, transparent, and socially responsible services, and have formalised our commitment to do good for the environment by becoming a founding signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking. This means we have committed to strategically aligning our business with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and other relevant frameworks. We achieve this through a number of ways, one of which is through giving back to our community.
In 2022, we launched our Volunteering Policy, this allowed all colleagues to take one day paid, of leave per year to be used for volunteering. Due to the uptake, colleague satisfaction and creating a positive impact within our local communities, the bank is now providing colleagues the option to take two volunteering days.
Volunteering is a great way to engage with local communities and create a positive impact. Our colleagues have participated in various volunteering activities which also align to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including life on land, climate action and quality education. This also advances Gatehouse Bank’s commitment to aligning its business strategy to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and other international sustainable development frameworks.
This year, colleagues from our Risk and Compliance teams volunteered to help maintain green space in Walthamstow Village. They planted bulbs and cleared wood chippings and brambles. This restores biodiversity in the area and supported the local community in accessing green spaces.
Our Talent and Development Partner, Lee Stockdale, recently volunteered at Whirlow Hall Farm Trust. He prepared the classrooms for the children by working with the teaching staff, helping to carry all the chairs, tables, cabinets, and stationary into the new rooms. He also worked to create educational wall displays to aid the children in their learning.
One of our more recent volunteering opportunities was taken on by our Office Assistant, Anita Szecsenyi, who recently volunteered at the London Marathon where she supported our Charity of the Year, Rainbow Trust, by cheering their marathon runners along.
If you’d like to get involved in a volunteering opportunity, you can find out more information here: https://www.gov.uk/volunteering.