A team of ten volunteers battled November’s cold and rain to give back to their local community at a local community garden.

Following a previous positive experience with VAST’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) brokerage service, Vodafone got in touch once again and put their trust in the team to find a perfect project for one of their regular ‘give back’ days. And this time, it was the Customer Experience Team that were ready to get stuck in.

Kay was leading on the project from the Vodafone side, and she met with Totally Stoked Project Officer Sian to discuss their criteria, requirements, and interests. Sian was then able to use this information to find a selection of community projects for the team to decide on where they would like to help out.

Through the CSR brokerage service, corporate businesses are matched with local voluntary and community groups and their projects that meet the skills and interests of the volunteers that will be giving their time to help. This results in a rewarding and enjoyable team-building activity that will have a positive impact on people in the local community. It’s a win-win scenario.

After some consideration, Vodafone felt that Father Hudson’s Young at Heart project community garden was something they were eager to support. They loved the idea of being able to improve an open space to benefit Young at Heart community.

Father Hudson’s is a Stoke-on-Trent based organisation that provides support and activities for older people to help improve their health and wellbeing. As well as exercise classes, crafts, and bingo, Father Hudson’s Young at Heart project also runs regular friendship groups and a befriending service to help address loneliness and isolation.

Once it was confirmed with Verrona and Tony from Father Hudson’s that all the necessary policies and procedures were in place—things like insurance, health and safety policies, risk assessments etc.—both sides were able to fully understand their duties and responsibilities before the big day arrived. Tony has done plenty of preparations before welcoming their volunteers for the day, making sure that everything was ready to go. Planning all this in advance meant that everyone could fully focus on the task at hand and enjoy the day itself.

Vodafone lead Kay said: “Sian was a pleasure [to work with] and responded quickly and addressed any concerns straight away. The whole process was super simple and easier than other days I’ve arranged.”

The big day arrived, and the weather was 50:50, but both parties agreed to take the risk as they were so eager to get down to business. Unfortunately, the heavens opened and stopped play after four hours, but everyone achieved so much in such a small space of time. From clearing and sorting out the shed and building flat-pack planters, to adding a new down pipe for rainwater collection and planting seeds in the allotment, everyone worked hard to improve the area and bring it back to life.

Vodafone’s team contributed 40 hours of volunteering in less than a day! They made huge improvements to the garden that will be used by the Young at Heart project community – a place to be enjoyed all year round. Such is the power of CSR and volunteering!

“Please pass on my thanks to Vodafone for a most enjoyable day and for all their hard work,” said Tony, Lead Volunteer at Young at Heart. “They achieved much more than I expected and if rain hadn’t stopped play I may well have run out of jobs for them.”

Kay from Vodafone said: “A massive thank you to Father Hudson’s for their hospitality. Tony and Verrona were so welcoming and friendly, it truly made the day! We’re just so disappointed the weather cut it short, we were really enjoying getting stuck in! If there is still work to be done in the new year when we arrange our next giving back day, we’d come back in a heartbeat.”

Verrona, Deputy Community Projects Manager said: “The coming together of individuals from various agencies, businesses and educational establishments brings true inspiration, skills and ideas to the development of the Community Garden. Without working together, we would not have got this far. The community of Stoke-on-Trent will benefit from all the hard work that has been put in thus far.”

If you’d like your company to get involved in a CSR Project, we can help you!

Totally Stoked works across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire and can facilitate CSR opportunities to help support local charities and community groups.

To find out more about how Totally Stoked arrange your next CSR day, please click here.