New staff volunteer initiative shows college’s caring side

Gateshead College’s ‘One Day’ initiative has been introduced to show how seriously it takes its caring responsibilities and employees have already ensured the scheme’s off to a flying start following completion of the first project.

Seven staff from the college’s Baltic Campus gave up their time to decorate a carer’s room at Gateshead Carers Association’s offices at Regent Terrace, taking the opportunity to smarten up the space for the benefit of users, while also tidying up the back yard to improve access for people to the disabled lift.

This is the first of the college’s ‘One Day’ projects designed to encourage staff to volunteer and give back to the local community by spending a day helping out or undertaking tasks with local organisations or individuals.

One of the volunteers, Stephanie Allan, customer services officer (quality), said: “It was a great experience to spend a day doing something completely different and really rewarding to know that our hard work has made a difference to people’s quality of life.”

The project was completed as part of Gateshead Carers Association’s Employer Charter by the college to show its commitment and how it is a carer friendly employer.

The move will also reinforce the college’s position as an employer of choice and reflects its position as one of The Sunday Times Best Not for Profit Companies to Work For.

Su Breadner, Gateshead College Director of HR said: “Through ‘One Day’, we hope that a whole range of community projects and charities will be able to benefit from our staff’s volunteer time. We pride ourselves on being a responsible employer and it’s important to give something back to the community that we serve.

“We also want to continue to be a great employer and create an environment where staff can feel happy and fulfilled at work. This programme shows that we understand that our employees have interests outside of work and provides them with additional time to pursue them.”

Helen Hughes, development manager at Gateshead Carers Association said: “Gateshead College’s volunteer scheme is a fantastic idea and is something that has already benefited initiatives in and around the borough.

“The work the team has done is absolutely fantastic. The carer’s room looks much better and the tidy up has made a huge improvement. I would like to say a huge thanks to all involved from the college.”

‘One Day’ is available to all 500 full and part-time staff at Gateshead College and allows employees the time to get involved in worthwhile projects away from the workplace.  They are able to choose which volunteer projects or charities they would like to support, spending time on their personal interests and activity might vary from helping out at a local animal shelter to decorating community halls or transforming public spaces.

Gateshead Carers Association is a charity that helps carers living or working in the borough. We provide confidential advice and information alongside practical and emotional support for carers. We campaign to influence policies at local government and with employers and service providers to improve carers’ lives.