Horace Mann, a nineteenth century educational reformer once said that “Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves”, and while this statement is now around two centuries old, it’s sentiment still holds true today. I believe that volunteering is a powerful force; with each and every one of us able to make a valuable and vital contribution to the lives of others while providing opportunities for personal development. So with today being International Volunteer Day, I wanted to share with you the important role our people are playing through giving back to the communities in which we live and work.
Empowering our people
We recognise that the same talent and skills that make our business a success can also be used to make a meaningful difference in tackling some of society’s biggest problems – from fuel poverty and climate change to skills development in young people.
That’s why we encourage all of our people to take part in volunteering, whether it’s helping out within our local communities, strengthening our strategic charity partnerships or supporting the social enterprises we invest in.
To do this, we provide up to two days paid time off workfor each employee every year. They can use this time to take up volunteering opportunities we’ve arranged with them, or they can pursue personal causes close to their hearts. And last year, we enabled our people to volunteer nearly 48,700 hours, which equates to £640,000 in time spent volunteering during work time!
What have we done this year?
We have continued to engage our people in volunteering with great success. Below are a few highlights I’ve picked out.
- Over 4,145 employees put on their walking boots for British Gas’ Treks Britain in support of British Gas’ charity partnership with Shelter, raising £242,000 to help improve the standard of Britain’s homes and end homelessness.
- Centrica Energy seized their rubber gloves for the ‘Big Clean’ in order to protect the environment from litter and to promote civic pride in the communities that surround our oil and gas sites in Barrow and Morecambe Bay.
- Employees at Direct Energy went down to their local food banks and homeless shelters to support vulnerable people in need of assistance.
- People from across the business supported Ignite, the UK’s first impact investment fund with a focus on energy, which is backed by Centrica, and helps nurture entrepreneurial social enterprises to build a better society.
But it’s not just our communities and charities that benefit from volunteering, it can also provide our people with the opportunity to learn new skills, increase job satisfaction1 and improve overall wellbeing2. All of which enables us to retain our skilled and talented workforce which is needed to meet the needs of our customers both now and in the future.
Here’s what some of our employees had to say about their volunteering experiences:
You can find out more about our community investment and engagement by visiting our website.