Here at Virgin Money, we encourage our people to help local communities through volunteering activities. It’s all part of our core ambition to make everyone better off.
We wanted to take a look at some of the great volunteering work that has happened so far this year, with some lovely stories from the volunteers themselves.
Changing Lives – Chris Grant
A merry band of eight volunteers took up a gardening challenge for a homeless charity in Newcastle – Changing Lives. The charity provides shelter for around 17 young people for 6 months at a time. We were taken on a brief tour of the facility which includes a gym and a pet bird. The task was to clear a very overgrown grass verge at the perimeter fence of the building. It was hard work, but everyone played their part admirably, raking & cutting the verge, clearing litter and leaving a nice tidy job!
The charity was amazed at how much work we were able to get through in such a short time; a task which their own volunteer gardener would have found too overwhelming. A brilliant team effort by everyone involved and we all enjoyed it thoroughly.
Knop Law Primary School – Vicky Waterhouse
A group of 12 volunteers made our way over to to Knop Law Primary School to work in the school grounds. On the first day, the team worked hard on weeding the planters and raised beds for the children to learn and plant in their allotments. They also created a few areas in the secret garden where lots of seeds were sown, which will be lovely when they come up! They focused on the area where a commemorative bench will be placed to make this a very peaceful and tranquil space.
On the second day we arrived in very wet, cold and windy weather (although we were not prepared for how wet, cold and windy it was) ready for action. We spent the day tidying the grounds, picking up all glass bottles, rubbish, cans, etc. We got right into the brambles and bushes and in total filled 15 black bin bags with rubbish. I think my team will back me up, that it was the coldest we’ve ever been and dived straight into hot showers and baths when we finished. The school were very grateful for our help and they looked after us well!
Fairways Community Centre – Lucy Holder
We arrived at Fairways Community Centre to paint the outside fences surrounding the facility. The rain just about held off for us, for which we were all very grateful! We were all given a paint brush and a tin of paint, so were ready to start. The public spoke to us regularly to find out what we were doing, and point out those bits we had missed! We managed to finish the whole fence after a little worry earlier in the day that we were going to run out of paint. It was great that we were able to complete the job.
By the end of the day we were very cold and also covered in paint from head to toe, but all agreed we had a fab day! Jan who runs the Community Centre was very grateful for our help and made us feel very welcome.
Gosforth Central Park – Keri Walker
Despite the promise of horrendous wet weather, 13 volunteers gathered to help out the “Friends of Gosforth Park”. We cleaned the park gates in preparation for painting (unfortunately it was too wet for us to paint them as hoped) and we dug up, transported and re-laid turf to cover some bare areas of the park.
After a well earned pub lunch we returned to edge the areas of the park where the children play amongst the trees, a task which initially wasn’t part of our day, but as we finished the original tasks in good time the volunteers quickly found some additional tasks for us. We even replanted some cherry trees and cleaned out the guttering on the hut!
It was really nice to hear the positive comments about VM volunteers from Allan and Peter and we all thoroughly enjoyed the day; their enthusiasm for the park definitely rubbed off on us all!