Russ Cockburn

Member Article

Give and Gain Day success in West Midlands

More than 700 workers from across the West Midlands swapped their usual Friday at work for a day giving something back to their local community and schools last week.

The volunteers, from 36 companies including Dassault Systems, Hadley Industries, Jaguar Land Rover, Jones Lang Lasalle, Lloyds Banking Group and Signet, took part in Give & Gain Day, the UK’s only national day of employee volunteering.

Run by Business in the Community (BITC), the campaign provides organisations with a unique opportunity to make a difference to the communities they operate in with this year’s push focused on getting pupils from 27 schools involved in sport, healthy eating and fitness.

27 teams of volunteers descended on Tipton Sports Academy to help host the first ever inter-schools Athletics Meet, a Football Competition and 17 activities ranging from dodgeball, fun and fitness and Olympic obstacle races to fruit challenge, dental health and tag rugby.

They were joined by Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North, and Olympic hopeful Matt Roberts, who is looking to qualify in the high jump for London 2012.

Outside of the main Tipton event, there was also a smaller Fit for Fun session held in Coventry involving 150 school pupils and 9 practical projects aimed at making environmental improvements to schools, local farms and community groups.

David Darlaston, Regional Director of BITC West Midlands, was delighted at the take-up from local businesses.

“Once again companies in the West Midlands have stepped up to the challenge and created what has been the biggest Give & Gain Day the region has ever seen.”

He continued: “We wanted to tap into the buzz around the Olympics so have encouraged our volunteers to adopt the sports and healthy eating focus and they came up with an exciting mix of events that pupils really enjoyed.

“Give and Gain is also the chance for companies to show that they are really committed to their communities. The impact and change that people can affect is remarkable and first-hand experience builds skills and motivation in a unique way.

“It’s a real win-win, with 87% of the employees that take part having increased loyalty and positive perception of their employer as a result.”

Volunteers from the West Midlands were in good company on Friday, joining a national army of over 10,000 employees, who helped put on sporting events and completed improvement projects to mark the UK’s largest day of employee volunteering.

It provides a great way for employees to try out volunteering for the first time and should be viewed as part of an on-going community investment partnership.

“One of the best ways businesses can support their local community is by encouraging employees, customers and suppliers to use their skills and time through volunteering,” explained Matt Young, Group Corporate Affairs Director of Lloyds Banking Group.

Clare Longden, Head Teacher at Wallbrook Primary School, added her support: “It’s fantastic that we are able to give our pupils the opportunity to take part in such a great day of activities that will teach them about fitness, healthy eating and having fun through sport.

“Interacting with volunteers from local businesses is also important and you can visibly see the impact it has on our youngsters and their views on the companies taking part.”

Schools and organisations involved included:

  • Abbey Junior School, Alexandra High, Brierley Hill Primary, Colley Lane, Coseley School, Fibbersley Park, Great Bridge, Holly Lodge, Jubilee Park, Oldbury Academy, St Michael’s C of E High School, St Phillips, St Thomas Moore, Wallbrook, Westfield, Willenhall Sports College and Wood Green Academy (all Black Country)

  • Aston Manor, Heartland Academy, Nansen, Nelson, Park View, Shenley Academy, Smith’s Wood Sports College, Stockland Green, Turves Green Girls & Boys, Washwood Heath, Stockland Green, Washwood Heath Technology College, Heartlands Academy, Broadway School, Bordesley Green Girls School, International School (all Birmingham and Solihull)

  • Brandon Wood Farm, John Waterhouse Project, Kerseley Grange School, Pitten Hills footpath, Richard Lee, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, St Anthony’s School, and St Patrick’s School (all Coventry and Warwickshire).

Give & Gain Day is run by Business in the Community, with national sponsors Lloyds Banking Group, Eversheds LLP and in association with BT.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Russ Cockburn .

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