Every year, an amazing 19.8 million volunteers choose to give their time across the UK. This Volunteer’s Week, we are celebrating the contribution to communities that businesses are making every day. Through programmes run by Business in the Community alone, business has contributed over 106,000 volunteer hours showing how it can be a force for good in communities.
Business has a huge amount of skills and resources to support local issues. They have people with specialist skills that are often inaccessible to or unaffordable for local small charities and small businesses, but can make a such a difference to local communities.
But it is not just the communities that benefit. Embedding a business in the local community and enabling employees to contribute their time and skills also provides key insights that enable businesses to develop. We know from our Business Connector programme evaluation that 70% of businesses said that working with the voluntary and community sector can lead to internal change, whilst 80% said that it supports employees’ skills and personal development. Rooting organisational and employee development in community-led thinking ensures that businesses grow in line with the needs of current and potential future customers.
This positive action is happening in collaboration and partnership with members of the community with businesses, charities, community organisations and the public sector working together to identify where support is most needed. Over 90% of businesses involved in the Connector evaluation say that collaborating with the voluntary and community sector improves their relationships with local communities. At a time when the Edelman Trust Barometer shows that trust remains low in business, developing positive relationships locally can demonstrate the positive role of business in building healthy communities.
Change is not just coming from the ground-up. The Government has renewed its focus on the sector through the current consultation on developing integrated communities and are planning to launch a new Civil Society Strategy this autumn. One of the most exciting elements of these strategies lies in the recognition that business has an important role in communities.
“ As we celebrate the power of volunteering, Business in the Community encourages all businesses to think about how it can support employees to volunteer, and how it can enable those volunteers to share their experiences with their colleagues ”
During Responsible Business Week in April 2018, we brought together more than 220 organisations in cities across the UK, including 100 businesses, to kick-start conversations that explored the issues affecting communities. We are inviting businesses and employees to take practical collaborative action to help address the issues that have been identified. You can help by getting involved at local action days in cities across the country.
To find out more about what is happening in your area, please contact your local Community Engagement Manager. We’d like to see this developing into longer-term engagement.
So, let’s celebrate all those who volunteer, and encourage more people to do so. It benefits us all.
Get in touch with one of our regional teams for further information on how you can engage with your local community in:
London and the South: Im Rahman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Leeds: Michael Harvey at email@example.com