1-7th June 2023 is Volunteers’ Week! An annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering in their communities.
At Saxton Bampfylde, we live by our values and believe in contributing our time, energy, money and expertise to causes which are important to us. As a business, Saxton Bampfylde also aims to widen its impact by supporting our colleagues to make a positive difference through volunteering. As part of this, our partners are offered half a day a month to give their time to support the charities and causes that are important to them.
We are so proud of our volunteering partners and their efforts to create positive change, so we are taking a moment this Volunteers’ Week to share some of their stories and experiences.
Vidhu Sood-Nicholls, Partner & Consultant
I have two trustee roles – one with a charity called The Wren Project and the second with Hopscotch Women’s Centre. I have been volunteering with Hopscotch Women’s Centre since 2019. They are a charity who seek to address racial and gender inequality and empowers women facing this disadvantage in a culturally sensitive way. Initially they were set up to support women from the Asian community but over the years that has shifted and Hopscotch has built a reputation for culturally sensitive support no matter where you come from.
I joined their board in 2019 – I was looking to build my understanding of the challenges that Asian women in London face and I wanted to meet people from different walks of life to me. I started when the charity was looking a bit fragile – there wasn’t much money in the pot and their care side of their work had just had a very difficult Care Commission inspection – things were bleak and we were facing a potential closing of parts of the charity. As a board we made some tough calls, supported the CEO Benaifer Bhandari – who has been fantastic, and have seen a huge turn around. My role in amongst my other duties has been to support Benaifer in structuring their approach to fundraising, how to position themselves, build a pipeline, target donors and report their impact. The charity is back in the black and it has gone from strength to strength. This year the team have been benefited from being the Mayor of Camden’s chosen charity and the photograph below is of a lunch that Hopscotch hosted to say thanks to Nash Ali who has just stepped down from his seat. Nash’s family arrived from Bangladesh as immigrants in the 1970’s, he attributes his success to the support his mother got from Hopscotch when he was a child. I worked from their offices that afternoon and found meeting the wider team hugely inspirational.
Rhianna Gerry, Partner & Associate Consultant
I’ve been fundraising for a charity called Growing Hope for the last 4 years, it’s a charity that provides free therapy for children with additional needs. I write grant applications on the charity’s behalf and help organise fundraising events which over the last 4 years has brought in tens of thousands of pounds, which for a small, new charity has been really impactful and allowed us to hire additional therapists. We started out with just an occupational therapist and now can offer children physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, art therapy, music therapy and children’s counselling.
Becca Tame, Partner & Researcher
I volunteer at my local primary school where I set up and now run an afterschool science class! I do this for an hour a week rather than one half day a month and as result I have been able to run 3 cohorts of 10 children since I started last year. Their favourites have been microscopes, colour changing acid and alkalis (because who doesn’t like science that looks like a magic trick?!) and quadrats.
Grace Collier-Large, Partner & Researcher
I volunteer with Circles South East. Essentially, they exist to aid the reintegration of recently released convicted sex offenders into the community by creating a “circle of support and accountability” around the sex offender, known as the “Core Member”. Myself and other volunteers create the “Circle” and meet weekly or fortnightly with the Core Member over the course of a year immediately after their release from prison. Our focus is to help develop pro-social skills, establish appropriate and meaningful relationships and reduce feelings of isolation with a view to preventing the likelihood of reoffending – as loneliness is a major risk factor to consider. It’s very much an underfunded and overlooked sector that is always in need of more volunteers so please get in touch if you are interested.
Charlotte Penn, Partner & Consultant
I volunteer as a telephone befriender for Age UK. I have been doing this for the past 2/3 years now and I speak to my telephone friend every week for an hour. She is a woman in her 80s, who lives outside Manchester, and we have a great chat about her life, dogs, her garden, all things!
Rachel Hubbard, Partner & Consultant
I am honoured to use my half day (and a bit more) for the University of Surrey as Co-Vice-Chair of Council. It is wonderful to be able to use my experience of helping Boards to be as good as they can. Surrey does world class research and teaching I am so proud of. Our new Institutes in sustainability and people centred AI are particularly exciting, alongside being awarded Uni of the year for student employability.