Volunteers heralded at anniversary celebration

By Anita Jaynes on 30 June, 2014

Involve Swindon has recognised the ongoing dedication of Swindon’s volunteers from businesses across the town as part of their 10 year anniversary.

Over the last ten years, hundreds of volunteers have given up thousands of hours to help in a wide range of activities – from gardening and decorating to specialist advice and trusteeships.

The event was sponsored by Swindon Marriott, Midcounties Co-operative, Nationwide, Intel and Zurich.

Awards were presented to recognize teams, individuals, charities and schools for their continued involvement and acting as a beacon of excellence, demonstrating how to bring employee volunteering alive on both a national and local level.

The team awards were presented to the Intel IT Schools Team and Zurich Saturday Team for MS Centre by the Mayor of Swindon, Teresa Page.

The Intel IT Schools Team is made up of 60 volunteers who have collectively given over 1000 hours supporting 14 local schools.

The Zurich Saturday Team is made up of eight staff who have been fully trained to operate the oxygen chamber at the MS Centre.  Thanks to their support, the Centre can open on Saturdays to treat people from as far as Bristol and Reading, without impacting on their school or work life.

Jeremy Beach from Nationwide and Mark Heasman from Zurich also received awards.

Jeremy Beach was recognised for his support of East Wichel Primary School in setting up ‘Number Crunching’, a scheme to boost numeracy through games and play.  Number Crunching has now been rolled out nationally by Nationwide.

Mark Heasman was described “a benchmark for others to aspire to” thanks to his fundraising efforts over four years for the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Janine Bowler from Zurich, Kirk Lauf and Darren Howell, both from Intel were highly commended.

Charities and schools were recognised for their support of the volunteers.

Wilts & Berks Canal Trust and Dressability took home the main awards, with TWIGS, Reach Inclusive Arts, Swindon Therapy Centre for MS and

Wroughton Youth Adventure coming highly commended.

Lydiard Park Academy received the Schools award, with Goddard Park Community Primary being highly commended.

Founder of Involve Swindon, Tony Martin, said: “What we have done over ten years has taken employee volunteering in Swindon to a higher level than in other towns and cities in the country.

“Skills donation is very beneficial to organisations in the charitable and education sectors in particular and has made a real difference over the last few years, which we will continue with.

“Raising the professional skills in organisations can help them have a much better chance of sustainability in the long term.”

Also presenting awards were Swindon MPs Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland.

Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, said: “We as a town are extremely proud of the fantastic work our secret army of volunteers are making to our local community, all too often without thanks, but always appreciated.”

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, added: “I’m delighted to mark ten years of Involve Swindon, which is leading the way and showing the rest of the country how to involve the talent of companies, large, medium and small.  Volunteering is an increasingly important part of career development and I am proud that Involve Swindon is leading the way.”